Robert Machoian Talks About The Integrity of Joseph Chambers and the Modern American Man in This Interview

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Robert Machoian is an independent American filmmaker who continues to stun with a body of work that is emotionally shocking, and at times, darkly comedic. His previous film, The Killing of Two Lovers, stands as one of the towering achievements of modern American indie filmmaking, and it’s with that strength and the fortitude of low budget filmmaking that he turns the story of a man trying to do the right thing for his family into a darkly comedic tragedy with The Integrity of Joseph Chambers.

Robert collaborates once more with Clayne Crawford, with Clayne playing the titular character. Joseph is a skewed version of David from The Killing of Two Lovers: dedicated to his family and their safety, yet unlike David, he is filled with a pride and misguided machismo that he believes will be enough to support his family in the event that there is some kind of massive event where food or supplies are no longer widely available.

Yet, while on the surface this may seem to narratively be a COVID-adjacent film, The Integrity of Joseph Chambers instead explores the meaning of masculinity in America, and just like Two Lovers, it shows a nation on the precipice of violence. Here, the violence is not delivered with purpose, instead it’s a mishap, a soul-breaking act of accidental mayhem.

Integrity sits on the shoulders of Clayne, but it’s buoyed by two performances that bookmark the film: at its opening is Jordana Brewster as Joseph’s with Tess, where she is given a wealth of character development to work with in a short period of time compared to that famous series she’s part of; and then at its close, Jeffrey Dean Morgan portrays a police chief, with Jeffrey delivering a stoic and empathetic performance that closes the film in a devastating manner. In the midst of this is a performance from Michael Raymond-James which is best described as one delivered with a resignation that hints at the desolate future that America faces as it continues to struggle with an epidemic of violence.

To be clear, The Integrity of Joseph Chambers is not a film that explores in depth America’s relationship with guns or violence, but rather seeks to recontextualise and examine what the ‘modern American man’ actually is, and just how is someone who realistically should not own a gun, let alone shoot one, supposed to manage in a society that almost dictates the need to have one.

It’s this discussion point that Robert talks about the most in this interview, recorded ahead of The Integrity of Joseph Chambers launch at Perth’s Revelation Film Festival. Integrity screens on July 14 and 15, and tickets are available via

Make sure to listen to the previous discussion with Robert, where he talked about being influenced by Kelly Reichardt, on

Andrew F Peirce

Andrew is passionate about Australian cinema, Australian politics, Australian culture, and Australia in general. Found regularly talking online about Sweet Country, and reminding people to watch Young Adult.

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