(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)


A few pieces of the arc of the story are revealed in this review.

CAPSULE: Spike Lee showed one possible scenario for a spark that starts a race riot with his DO THE RIGHT THING. Director George Tillman gives us a very different genesis but one that also leads to a riot. While the film is a bit hard-bitten it seems a little too anxious to have a positive ending. Several racially-charged and involved issues are brought together in an effective story. Director: George Tillman, Jr.; Writers: Audrey Wells, Angie Thomas. Rating: +3 (-4 to +4) or 9/10

Starr Carter (played by Amandla Stenberg) is a 16-year-old African- Americangirl and her father has given her "The Talk." The Talk may not be what the viewer is expecting. The Talk is not about how to handle boy friends getting too amorous. It is about how to NOT be shot and killed when stopped by police. It seems African-American teens live life under the shadow and constant threat of death from the frequent and lethal encounters with the police who kill with near impunity.

Starr lives a double life. When she is near her high school, which is in a white neighborhood, she works at assimilating into the mostly white and affluent neighborhood. Outside of the affluent surroundings she returns to her home poverty-stricken neighborhood.

One night Starr is given a ride home from a party by her friend since childhood, Khalid, who is also black. Starr knows the right things to do having been coached by her father. Khalid, however, does not know the rules and un intentionally provokes the police officer. The policeman reacts from fear and shoots Khalid three times in the chest, killing him on the spot. The only witness to the shooting is Starr. She agrees to help the police investigating the shooting under the condition that her name is kept out of the affair. What starts as a bad situation just gets worse.

The writing gives the audience a many faceted look at multiple communities' looking at a story that grabs national headlines. The film's biggest problem is that it is tied up a little too neatly toward the end.

The film has its worst faults at its conclusion. The last moments of the film are unrealistically optimistic. That may be from its source material. The film is based on young adult novel written for teenagers. Perhaps it avoids being too bleak. At 132 minutes the film the film takes its time to give a view of a complex social problem. But then it ties things up a little too neatly at the end. Still the film is intelligently planned out. I rate the film a +3 on the -4 to +4 scale or /10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2018 Mark R. Leeper