TheLoneRider
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Sons of Anarchy Mar 31, 2011

Movie Review: Sons of Anarchy

Rating: star star star star star (5 stars out of 5)
Audience Rating: TV-MA
Cast: Charlie Hunnam(Jackson 'Jax' Teller), Katey Sagal Katey Sagal (Gemma Teller Morrow), Ron Perlman (Clarence 'Clay' Morrow)
Director: Paris Barclay, Guy Ferland, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Peter Weller, Billy Gierhart, Kurt Sutter
Writer: Kurt Sutter, Chris Collins, Roberto Patino
Awards: ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards 2013: Top Television Series
Genre: action, drama, violence, biker life
Run Time: 45m/episode, 2008-2014, 7 seasons
Premiere Date: September 3, 2008
Country: USA

Long Time Fascination
Even back in high school, I was already fascinated by the daring exploits of these rough-hewn guys on Harley Davidson choppers. They epitomized life on the edge - unfettered freedom, wind in your face, the take-no-shit attitude, off the grid, and fierce independence. I'd draw gangs clashing in mortal combat, with chains and medieval maces while they rev their shovelheads in full charge on one another. I've read books about them. It's a fantasy I carry to this day.

A TV Series
Given the public hero-worship of these defiant rebels, it's high time a tv series is launched - Sons of Anarchy (SAMCRO - Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original). In the series, SAMCRO is the mother chapter of a motorcycle club (MC) with chapters in the US, Canada and Europe. It's headed by Clay with his step-son Jax in second command. The series also portrays day-to-day lives of the bikers...their daytime job, the family life...much like The Sopranos. In fact, the format is nearly identical. There is talk that the 4th season is already in the works.

Sons of Anarchy

Hell's Angels-Inspired
SAMCRO is a fictionalized saga of a motorcycle club (MC) patterned after the Hell's Angels. I've read a few books about the Angels, and as far as I can make of it, SAMCRO is as good as it gets to the actual biker culture - the patch-over, burning off the tattoo, street justice, run-ins with the law, altercation with rival gangs, etc. The only difference I see is that what could possibly happen to an MC in a 5-year span is compressed into a few weeks on tv. So, you get overlapping action-packed episodes one after another, with hardly a breath of air to take a gasp.

Jax Teller
Jax is probably one of the most conflicted anti-heroes to appear on the tube. He thinks fast, delivers results, tough-as-nails, ruthless when he needs to be, fiercely loyal, but he also carries with him the vision of his late father of what a motorcycle club should be - and it's not consistent with where SAMCRO is. This is the tight-wire act Jax has to walk on that makes for great MC drama. While the MC has evolved into a gun-running, protection-run, sometimes murder-for-hire organized crime syndicate with enemies all over - the Mayans, the Nords, etc., Jax wants to make things legit (hmmm, isn't this reminiscent of the young Al Pacino in Godfather who also wanted to take the organized crime family...legit?). Taking the MC back to its original roots was no easy task, but Jax couldn't settle for less - a bunch of freedom-loving rebels on Harleys who simply want to live life off the grid. This puts him at odds with his step father, Clay, who's running the MC. It's up to him to play that balance - shifting the club direction while still complying with club rules and mandate.

Ending Thoughts
I couldn't get enough of this - good story, great pace, superb acting, etc. It's good everything - brutal savagery, drama, sex, poignant moments, values, etc. This series is not just great entertainment, there's a lot that can be learned - duplicity, holding your own ground, taking no shit from anyone, creative quick thinking, loyalty, etc. Others read Sun Tzu's book, the Art of War, to navigate themselves through the rough and tumble. Others read books about Attila the Hun. Me? I've read them too, but watching Sons of Anarchy mindfully, puts added dimension to this veiled world we just hear about.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
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ps - If you want me to objectively review a movie for this website (premiere showing, filmfest, now-showing film, etc.), email me.



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