Moving Pictures Magnify Race
What’s scarier than a rogue cop gone awry?
A black rogue cop gone bad.
Denzel proved that being a bad black cop is not only box office gold but can win you that elusive Oscar that a black actors usually just can’t touch.
I’ve only seen previews but I still don’t think Samuel Jackson is in contention.
Based on a true case, Samuel Jackson plays a cop named Abel Turner who menaces his neighbors because he doesn’t like the fact that Lisa and Chris Mattson (Kerry Washington and Patrick Wilson, respectively) are an interracial couple.
It’s like Something New meets Cape Fear.
Maybe I am being too hard on the flick and missing the possibility that this could be a great way to facilitate a discussion on race relations. Two other films in limited release may be able to do it better.
The Lena Baker Story is also a true-to-life movie about a black woman executed in Georgia in 1945 for the murder of her white male employer. Once a consensual relationship, the liaisons between Baker and her boss soon became coerced and abusive. The boss’ son even beat Baker to break them up, but the father still pursued her.
This sixty year old case would be an excellent segue into a discussion about black female bodies as currency as well as sexual harassment and the history of black female sexuality and safety in this country.
Another film that could get tongues untied is Thomas McCarthy’s “The Visitor“. The film is about a professor (Richard Jenkins) who finds a couple living in the Manhatten apartment that he rarely visits. Instead of turning them out he ends up connecting with the couple and becoming involved in their lives.
This film could bring a lot of reflection to people who are groomed to see race before the person. Especially those white middle Americans who insist that race colors their politics.
But then again maybe we have more to learn from Lakeview Terrace. If anything, maybe a black male with a badge will replace Jason with his chainsaw as being the scariest thing at Halloween.