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(Review originally written at 4 August 2007)

There are some movies I would had never heard of, if they weren't composed by a well know composers. Soundtracks are often a reason for me wanting to watch a movie. It's a lovely little soundtrack from maestro John Williams. It really helps to tell the story and enhances things.

The movie is a dramatic laden one that is powerful in parts but also filled with some big sappy sentiments. Such as the way the black-community gets portrayed. It's made to look like one big happy, perfect, peaceful, innocent community. It feels a bit too sappy and cheap and on top of that this introduction lasts a tad too long. does tend to make the movie melodramatic but luckily the movie doesn't ever really cross this line. Luckily the movie does get better as things start to go from bad till worse in the story. It becomes a more of an emotional engaging and powerful movie that provides the movie with a couple of effective moments, though the movie at the end also makes the mistake by becoming more of an action-movie. The actual ending itself also goes on for too long, which also causes it to be overly sappy.

It's a well directed movie that shows that John Singleton obviously has talent. Once thing gets started things flow very well and the movie becomes an effective one. It's of course an all the more shocking movie since its based on true events. But nevertheless the movie, because of its sentiments, feels more like a based on a true story made for TV movie, than a shocking, moving Hollywood-hit, worthy of Oscar-nominations. The movie also doesn't feel like its trying to send out a message or tell an important story.

The movie is also good looking with some nice cinematography and also the sets and costumes help to create the right atmosphere for the time period the movie is set in.

The movie has an impressive cast but not everybody seems happily cast. Such as Ving Rhames. He just isn't good enough for this serious and more carrying sort of roles. His character also feels totally unrealistic. No wonder, since his, unlike the other characters in the movie, are fictionalized ones. I don't know why but Don Cheadle and Jon Voight also feel quite out of place. I guess it's because their characters aren't really ever deepened out good and interestingly enough in the movie. But Don Cheadle is of course also always better in smaller supporting roles. This movie could had been a real good and powerful movie if it relied on its characters and became a real character movie but the movie its storytelling, that is more focused on the sensational and racial aspects of the movie, doesn't allow this. Michael Rooker does play a good role and so does Bruce McGill, who is about one of the most underrated actors in the business. Robert Patrick is also in the movie but his role is unfortunately far too small, though not insignificant.

A good, though certainly not perfect dramatic telling of some horrible true events.

7/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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