MARSHALL (2017)

marshall

Directed By: Reginald Hudlin
Written By: Josh Kaskoff & Michael Kaskoff
Cinematography By: Newton Thomas Sigel
Editor: Tom McArdle 


Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Dan Stevens, Kate Hudson, Sophia Bush, Jussie Smollett, James Cromwell, Keesha Sharp, Roger Guenveur Smith, Ahna O’Reilly, Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas, Jeffrey DeMunn 


About a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.


The film seems at first or the way it seems aimed to more or less be a biography of Justice Thurgood Marshall’s life or at least his rise in the law profession. It ends up being a chapter in his life a very small one that exposes us the audience to his life.

As in one scene we see him socializing with noted black celebrities of the time. They really has nothing to do with story though does help to build character. To show how cosmopolitan and classy his life is back home versus how he is treated in the town where he has come to help represent a black man standing trail for rape and attempted murder.

The film is almost like a IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT type only a lot lighter. Though here instead of helping A racist police department. He is instead coming into this racist town and not allowed to speak in court and has to help a Jewish lawyer defend the man.

So we watch the ridiculousness of the situation. Unfortunately he never gets his Mr. Tibbs moment but he does get a fighting scene where her gets to take out his frustration. After a white woman flirts with him and the locals already upset with him decide to attack. Though the scene is strange as why would the thugs come to a bar with a black bartender and where blacks are apparently allowed to segregate with whites?

Though a true story it seems like this film was intended to be a crossover film for audiences. By having more of a white protagonist who learns to fight against the racism surrounding him and find purpose through the guidance of a black man who is obviously smarter than him. Though stays a hair short from being a full blooded magical negro guide. As here the film gives him character and situations to aspire against.

The film unfortunately plays more like a basic court room procedural that has more of a heavy emphasis on the case and the defense.

Chadwick Boseman again excelled in his role as Thurgood Marshall. Another historical figure as a feather in his cap. Next to His performances as Jackie Robinson and James Brown. He shows himself a definite leading man and talented actor.

This is one of the more dramatic roles of Josh Gad and he is good in His role. Though it feels a bit strange as the audience is so used to his more comedic turns.

Which is the same feeling one feels for the film’s director Reginald Hudlin who has mostly directed comedies in his career and producing dramas. Here this is one of his first dramatic films and he does well with the material. It just never feels special except for subject matter. Though it feels like a film that is upper class made for an average audience. That shows a little glamour but also feels somewhat flavorless. The film is appealing but strangely feels rushed to a degree. As it puts emphasis on certain things but goes light on others. While trying to stuff the film with a bunch of subjects and issues and wanting to not only include them all but also give them each a fair amount of time.

It’s shocking to see Kate Hudson in the movie and is actually quite good and heartbreaking. –Sterling K Brown again changes his look and fully inhabits his character as the accused who there is more to then meets the eye.

While the film offers a few surprises it also feels familiar. This is the type of film they would have made in The 80’s and 90’s where as for all of it’s good intentions. It still feels a bit basic or off the assembly line. It’s a story that I am glad to see being told. Though it feels like a footnote In something that would eventually encourage greatness.

At least the film has a certain dignity that it tries to share with the audience.

Grade: C+

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