Starring: David Strathairn and Sam Witwer

Written and Directed by: Terry Green


Terry Green, writer and director of NO GOD NO MASTER, has effectively depicted the  historically significant time of 1919-1920 when terrorism onUS soil was first seen.  He accurately recreates a specific time when package bombs were delivered to prominent businessmen and politicians by people in a group called Anarchists.  Labor disputes and fair treatment of immigrants was at an all-time high and those in power wanted an end to this radical behavior.  With William Flynn at the helm of the investigation by the Bureau, the politicians got the truth.  But is the truth really what they were looking for?


David Strathairn stars as Agent William Flynn with second in command, Agent Ravarini (Sam Witwer).  Flynn is an agent with scruples and knowledge.  He lives in the immigrant Italian neighborhood in NYC, right next to and doing business with the very people that are being accused of a part of this conspiratorial group and possibly being deported.  From the opening scene, the viewer is quickly transported back in time to the year 1919.  The attire, the furnishings and buildings, and even the wall paper and photos were spot-on perfect for the era.  Attention to such detail gave even more credibility to this little-known piece of history.


The story unfolds along a linear time as Flynn and Ravarini learn more about the true culprits of the bombings and the real motivation behind power-hungry politicians such as A. Mitchell Palmer and the young and yet unknown J. Edgar Hoover.  Weaving this story into a secondary story of two young immigrants who are wrongfully accused of murder, the story becomes more complex.  Always reminding us that this is a true story, creates an even more powerful film.

NO GOD, NO MASTER easily shows the parallels  between not only threats and bombings of nearly 100 years ago and today, but also our politician’s treatment and viewpoints.  The film captures the nature of both these aspects and how little many things have truly changed.


When history repeats itself, what have we learned?  NO GOD NO MASTER artfully explores our American history and helps us answer just that question.  With clear, concise writing and the deft skill of David Strathairn as the lead, the message is conveyed.  Although a serious film, it does have its moments of levity with the relationship between Flynn and Ravarini.  There is also a small romantic aspect of the movie, adding to the entertainment  of the film.

Check out this film as it opens in the Chicago area this weekend.  It never ceases to amaze me how little we know (or remember) about our own history.  The smaller historical events are sometimes just as important as the larger ones.  This is just one example of that.  Learn something and be informed as well as entertained.

Terry Green will be joining me on The Reel Focus radio show on Thursday, May 22 to discuss his film.  Be sure to tune in at 4:30 pm CST.  You can listen on-line at WKCC Radio or catch it in podcast form at Reel Honest Reviews


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