Friday, August 31, 2007

Talk to Me (2007, Kasi Lemmons)

Solid entertainment, and occasionally more than that. Don Cheadle's performance as Petey Greene has been getting most of the press, and it's nice to see him really dig into a showy lead role- he sells the funny stuff but also the more serious moments, especially when Petey takes to the airwaves on the night of Dr. King's murder. But Chiwetel Ejiofor is just as good, taking an upright Sidney Poitier type and showing both the careerist hunger that drives him and the difficulties he has as a minority in a white-driven world. Dewey may be an exec at a station catering to an urban audience, but aside from the on-air talent and the receptionist he's the only black face in the office, which obviously weighs on him. I appreciated that the film doesn't shy away from the racial issues at play, not only in Dewey's life, but in his relationship with Petey as well, which play out nicely in an early game of pool and take off from there. Ultimately, despite the historical backdrop, the film works primarily as a story of their friendship, which causes both of them to grow. This is why I think the film's final half-hour is necessary- rather than finishing up at the high point of Petey's professional career, Lemmons shows us how their rather unlikely friendship plays out over the years. Rating: 7 out of 10.

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