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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 17, 2014 - Edition No 893 

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GOSPEL HILL: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
In Julia, South Carolina, the residents of suburban Gospel Hill are being forced out of their homes to make way for a multimillion-dollar development. Race relations are strained just as they were 40 years earlier when Peter Malcolm (Samuel L. Jackson), a black civil rights activist, was assassinated. Dr Ron Palmer (Giancarlo Esposito), an influential black community leader is supporting the development. Peter Malcolm's brother, John Malcolm (Danny Glover), haunted by the pain of what happened, has given up the fight. Meanwhile, the town's bigoted former sheriff is facing his own mortality and has his hatreds (and cover up) to reflect on. Sarah Malcolm (Angela Bassett), John's wife, takes it upon herself to battle Dr Palmer and reveal his profiteering.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The old 'bad, rich developer agin the local community' story gets a workover here with the added juice of racial relations and black/white history in the neighbourhood. It might seem a bit clunky and shop-worn at first, but it holds dramatic value, especially with a seriously talented cast. Giancarlo Esposito (not Italian) writes and directs and co-stars as a black baddie in the story, and perhaps some of his early judgements are clouded by pressure. Subtleties are thin on the ground, but the elements of social injustice, racial tension and character conflicts make the film engaging enough.

And that's not counting the great blues cues on the soundtrack - me being a blues fan. The mood and the tension build nicely, and the cast do a great job. The film improves as it goes along, drawing us into the characters and the story. It reaches its emotional and dramatic climax before the end, when a quite but intense meeting between three damaged characters reveals the heart of the story, demonstrating the banality of many misdeeds.

Excellent performances from the leads and supports, notably Danny Glover, Julia Stiles and Angela Basset, and well structured storytelling with flashbacks propelling the emotional arc of the story make for a satisfying film.

Published March 26, 2009



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

GOSPEL HILL: DVD (M)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Chloe Bailey, Adam Baldwin, Angela Bassett, Giancarlo Esposito, Danny Glover, Julia Stiles, Corinne Biazzo, Chuck Bibby, Phillip Bloch, Tow Bower, Jason Downs, Chris Ellis, Samuel L. Jackson

PRODUCER: Freddy Braidy, Giancarlo Esposito

DIRECTOR: Giancarlo Esposito

SCRIPT: Jeff Stacy, Jeffrey Pratt Grdon, Tarrell Tannen

CINEMATOGRAPHER: David Tumblety

EDITOR: Tina Pacheco

MUSIC: Scott Bomar

PRODUCTION DESIGN: William A. Cimino

RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0

SPECIAL FEATURES: trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

DVD RELEASE: February 6, 2009







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