GOSPEL HILL: DVD
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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GOSPEL HILL: DVD (M)
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
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.