Monday, February 1, 2021

Son of the South - Movie Review

The Movie: Son of the South

The Director: Barry Alexander Brown

The Cast: Lucas Till, Lex Scott Davis, Lucy Hale, Cedric the Entertainer, Julia Ormond, Brian Dennehy

The Story: A grandson of a Klansman comes of age in the deep south and eventually joins the Civil Rights Movement. Based on Bob Zellner's autobiography "The Wrong Side of Murder Creek."

The Review:
Full disclosure here, the only reason I decided to watch this movie is because it is executive produced by Spike Lee and I figured there's no way he's going to put his name on something regarding the civil rights movement that wasn't a legit feature. After watching the movie, I am happy to say that I made the right choice as it is an inspiring account of a man who took on a role within the civil rights movement that was very unusual thing to for for a young white man in 1960's Alabama.

Mr. Zellner is played by Lucas Till who has been featured in the more recent X-Men movies as well as the ongoing MacGyver TV show remake and he does about as good a job of portraying the man as one could hope. What really comes across from the performance is the inner strength and resolve of a person who knows he is going up against tough odds and life threatening danger around every corner. Opposite Till is a shining performance from Lex Scott Davis as Joanne, Bob's love interest and fellow member of the movement. The two are great on screen together and sort of become the heart of the movie as the story progresses.

One of the things I wasn't sure about was how far director Barry Alexander Brown would go in showing the brutality and straight up evil nature of not just the Klan, but the general population of white people in the south during that time but there it was in all of it's historical context so bravo for that. I think this story hits in a more powerful way today than it might have a year ago considering the events of 2020 and the realization that a lot of these same issues are as prevalent today as they were back then. it's amazing to think how it really wasn't that long ago that black people were still generally considered less than human by so many people and how those same folks were so indoctrinated into believing this god given righteous path that they were supposedly destined to be on.

This is where Brian Dennehy comes into the movie with a truly frightening performance as Bob's grandfather and proud member of the Klan. What's frightening is how normalized everything I just talked about is for him and how that level of blatant and pure racism is one hundred percent his right and reality as far as he is concerned. One thing I will say is that it doesn't really provide anything that we haven't already seen before from movies about the civil rights movement and it also does keep the white savior trope alive for yet another day but I also feel that every single one of these stories is absolutely necessary and they all need to be told.

The Verdict:
Son of the South is right on time as the struggle against racism is far from being over. These types of films are more than welcome in the world we live in today.

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