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"Banished"

Directed by Marco Williams.
Release Year:  ?
Review Date:  1/30/07

Folks-- 

"Banished" was another film that I just knew, from the jump, had a subject matter that would be a winner.  While the execution of this film could have been stronger in more able hands, there's no doubting the power of the information presented.

In the early 1900s, hundreds of African American families were displaced (i.e. racially cleansed) from their land, mainly through intimidation from white families in these select areas.  Director Marco Williams takes a closer look at this past by examining three different cases of this displacement scattered through the country: southern Georgia, Arkansas and greater St. Louis; in each county, there are almost no black families left and the director wants to know why.

The subject matter, again, is a whopper.  I thought that the presentation of this subject could have used a little work; the director's interviews with random white citizens in each county are sometimes frightening in their honesty, sometimes downright hilarious...the black families that were selected to be followed during their journey to learn the truth weren't as passionate as one would hope, given the situation.  We're talking about tracking down information on why certain white families took away the land of their forefathers, and sometimes, it's more of a ho-hum investigation.  The random jazz score helps lend to a passive nature with "Banished"; I felt that this hurt the proceedings more than they helped the film.

Still, stories like this--and, the racist elements that accompany any work like this--need to be told, and for me, reminders like this are a very good, very positive thing.  Hopefully this film will eventually make it to theaters; with a proper bit of editing, I think that "Banished" could be great.

Rating:  $9.50 Show

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09