Charles Burnett, one of America's most highly regarded independent filmmakers, wrote and directed this domestic drama about a black middle-class family living in South Central Los Angeles. However, there are no gangs, no guns, no drugs but instead a lyrical story that draws on folklore and the supernatural. Family tensions are already simmering when Harry (Danny Glover) arrives to visit his old friends. He exudes an easy charm, knows secrets past and present and is soon installed in the heart of the family. However, as his stay lengthens, so does he begin to cast an ever more malevolent spell, provoking turmoil, setting son against son, reviving past hatreds, and inflicting a mysterious illness. Glover delivers a career-topping performance as the garrulous family fiend, full of hidden menace, effortlessly evoking nostalgia and horror in the same breath. As ever, Burnett provides a wonderful music track featuring gospel, blues and jazz and a cameo from the legendary Jimmy Weatherspoon.
Deservedly Critically Acclaimed
- To Sleep with Anger review by CD
I had heard of this film as it was showing at the BFI in London last year in a retrospective and was highly rated. It is a truly atmospheric and beautifully acted film with Danny Glover as just one of many superb performances. As an extra bonus, the script is very good as is the music. My only criticism is that the film drags out a bit at the end. There is plenty of menace and growing tension in the film which ends in a key event (I will not spoil things if you have not yet watched the film) - after that there would be a case for a final scene and then the credits to roll. Overall however, highly recommended.
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