Monday, December 14, 2009


Released: 1997

Reviewed: 12.12.09
Star rating: 4 out of 5

Jon Voight (John), Ving Rhames (Mann), Don Cheadle (Sylvester), Bruce McGill (Duke), Esther Rolle (Aunt Sarah), Elise Neal (Scrappie), Robert Patrick (Lover), Michael Rooker (Sheriff Walker).

In 1923 a white mob destroyed a predominately black town due to the false rape allegations of a white woman. Based on that story this film is a fictionalized retelling of the events that took place in Rosewood, primarily from the perspective of the black community, and how a handfull of blacks survived with help from a white store owner.

The film starts off by developing the setting of the community and the attitude of whites and blacks toward each other. The story then unfolds with the continually rising aggression of whites toward blacks until the false rape allegations by a white woman provides the catalyst and excuse for whites to eradicate the blacks. The story is an emotional roller-coaster that does a very good job of showing racism and mob mentality in a very direct way. It was easy to get caught up in the fictionalized parts, particularly the character of Mann, but the basis of the film has the most impact.

Acting was very good in this one. Voight and Rooker were excellent choices for their roles and performed well. Rhames was enjoyable though his character was a bit much, seeming almost superhuman at times. McGill played an awesome racist pig, and while Cheadle did well he didn't have much of a role.

Camera work, sets and background were nice and seemed fairly consistent with the time-frame. Dialogue and sound were also well done, while the soundtrack was kept simple.

Overall this was a very enjoyable film with many aspects of drama, action, and violence that is almost guaranteed to evoke strong emotions from most any viewer. Well worth the watch so put this in the top half of your Must See list. With some strong foul language and violence save this one for older teens and above.

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