THE first time I heard that word being hurled at me I knew it would not be the last time. What I did not know was once a person was labeled by that word, no matter what they achieved, most of their peers would still only see a f-a-t person. Around the same time I remember a classroom discussion about race. A little boy in class asked the teacher why some people’s skin was a different color. I still recall what the teacher said to us. She told the class all it meant was that person’s family, from a very long time ago, was born in a different part of the world. The closer to the equator, the darker the person’s skin would be is how she described it. This bit of information turned into a game outside of class, where students would guess where a person’s grandparents were born based on the color of the skin on a person. NOW fast forward to high school my freshman year; we heard a rumor there was a time when girls were not allowed to wear pants in school. You can imagine how astonished we were on this bit of news. It turned out it was true; if you were female then you had to wear a skirt or dress to school. I could not understand what possible reason did the administration have for such a ridiculous rule. Past my school years when I was living in the city in my first apartment, I was walking down the street. Two guys were walking in my direction but I did not pay attention since there was a variety of shoppers on the street. Just as we were coming shoulder to shoulder the guy closest to me punched me in the face and I staggered back into a plate glass window. Either they did it for some initiation or they just did not like the way I looked. For 2 1/2 decades I had experienced actions based on looks, why was there such a preoccupation with it? MILDRED and Richard, played by Ruth Nega (World War Z, The Samaritan) and Joel Egerton (The Gift, Black Mass), were deeply in love. Their love however was not right according to some of their neighbors. Based on a true story this dramatic biography set during the 1950s in Virginia had such an important story to tell. With Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings franchise, The Equalizer) as Sheriff Brooks and Nick Kroll (Adult Beginners; I Love You, Man) as Bernie Cohen, the actors were all good; however, Joel and Ruth were incredible and Ruth deserves an Oscar nomination. For this story I felt the script could have done a better job in telling the story. I wanted to know how Mildred and Richard met considering the obvious racial divide that was on display. There was a subdued nature to the telling of this story, both the written word and the directing of scenes. At the end of the film I had a mixture of feelings. On the one hand one could say we have come a long way from this story; but on the other hand, the hate I am currently seeing in the world makes it seem as if nothing has changed. Hate is the new black.
2 3/4 stars
I believe everyone has at one time experienced some form of injustice. There are all kinds of injustice; some more powerful than others. How many of us have felt we were unfairly treated by someone in a customer service role, either in person or on a toll free number? I would guess nearly all of us. This type of scenario has more to do with poor training than some form of discrimination. Speaking from personal experience, more times than not if you end the conversation and try again later for someone different they may be able to resolve your issue. You just need to get the person who is better trained. Now there are some forms of injustice that are more serious. The guy walking down the street, minding his own business, when a small group of young adults push him down as they walk by, just because they did not like the way he looked could make you angry. However, there is little you could do without becoming a victim yourself; so you wait until the punks are far enough away to go over and help the fallen man. Having seen more than my share of injustices, I am intimately familiar with the anger that wells up inside and the frustration that takes over because there is not a damn thing I could do to stop it. HAVING left his former ways behind him Robert McCall, played by Denzel Washington (The Book of Eli, The Great Debaters), could not sit back and watch the mistreatment of young Teri, played by Chloe Grace Moretz (If I Stay, Let Me In). His actions would not go unnoticed. I have to give credit to Denzel for putting in a strong performance. In the recent past I felt he was showing us he could act instead of simply acting and in this crime thriller he was very much his character Robert. The other excellent performance was by Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings franchise, Noah) as Teddy. Visually I found this crime film interesting to watch with its great camera angles; it was a plus for the dynamic fight scenes. Unfortunately the story could not keep the good parts together. With a slow build-up, I found things were getting sillier as the movie progressed. There were some unanswered questions I had by the end of the film which left me somewhat unsatisfied. I can only assume the movie studio is hoping for this to become a franchise. Not that I want to judge the idea unfairly, but if the studio wants to go forward they would need a better script next time. There were several scenes with blood and violence.
2 1/2 stars