Proof that John Singleton can do other stuff than just gang films.
The film stars Ving Rhames who travels to the town of Rosewood, Florida, United States, and becomes a witness to the 1923 Rosewood massacre. The supporting cast includes Don Cheadle as Sylvester, a non-fictional character who also became witness to the atrocities, and Jon Voight, as a white store owner who inhabits a village near Rosewood. The three characters become entangled in a desperate attempt to save whomever they can from the rage of the racist whites of Rosewood.
Now when everybody thinks of John Singleton they always say one movie: Boyz N The Hood. Well, he makes one similar to that, but different setting and different time period.
African American History Month so I’m reviewing this film. This is another movie that makes me want to go out and beats up white people. This movie shows the violences that was displays by jealous people. And it uses a whole bunch of vicious violence, and murder to further the point that all these people wanted to do was kill black people.
The problem I had with this film is that it wasn’t powerful enough. We saw these black people and cheered them on hopefully to get away from the bad white people but we never get to know these black people other than their scared and were supposed to cheer them on. We never see them doing good deeds neither do we get any insight into what their lives are really like. The screenplay was written-well but I still found it to be cliched with lines when it came towards the end and actually getting to the heart of the story.
During some of the parts of the film I wondered, as did the film, how this was all going to turn out. Times, it felt like a straight-up race drama, but then it lingered on the lines of typical action epic. Towards the end of the film this surely showed with the pace up-tempo and violence that was right in your face.
The best thing of this film is its strong performances from the cast. I liked Voight as the only good white guy in the film and found him to be the one everybody else liked the most. But the film really is given to Rhames who brings out a strong performance as the main hero in this film, although he does not have those typical traits, and is fighting for something more, his race. I wish there was more of Don Cheadle in the film as he sort of disappears out of nowhere, and I had a problem with Michael Rooker who was sometimes a good cop, then turned into a bad cop, even though it seemed like he had enough sense to end this massacre.
Consensus: Singleton directs this film with his signature simplicity and strong enough performances to keep it alive, but doesn’t know whether to be a action flick or epic drama, and doesn’t quite have the strongest screenplay.