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Almost torture having to sit and listen to one guy barely speak audibly while smoking. I've seen two other movies on this subject that are so much better. If Spike Lee wasn't part of this movie it'd have terrible reviews accross the board.
Very good. Captivating. Creative.
good bio/historical picture
A portrayal of Newton before a crowd pushing his beliefs and politics. It was intriguing to learn some of his view points. He had some interesting quotes and one of my favorites was "When you die everybody wants to bring you flowers, but what about when I'm alive and nobody wants to bring me soup." This is a must see...
It's a really impressive solo performance that seems to capture the essence of Newton.
Robert Guinevere Smith's depiction of the tormented & ingenious Huey P. Newton is astonishing. His haunting portrayal is at the caliber of Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance in 'Capote'. If you're unaware of Mr. Newton I'd advise reading information on the Black Panther Party prior to viewing. With no previous knowledge of the Party and it's history & impact, a lot might be lost. Easily a 5-star film.
Smith has created a well-acted and well-written one man performance here. Definitely worth a look.
A chain-smoking Huey P. Newton lights one cigarette after another, his mouth so dry that you can hear the sound of his tongue hitting the roof of his mouth. The film is one extended monologue of Huey's inner mind, concluding with an entrancing shadow boxing dance by Smith to Ballad of a Thin Man. Something really is happening, even if we don't know what it is. Identity and difference propel the "narrative," as per director Spike Lee's usual, given his desire to represent the real.
To be sure information is imparted about Huey as if he were still alive, with allusions to President George W. Bush. Looking back, he passes judgment on Eric Clapton's '80s cover of Bob Marley's hit I Shot the Sheriff but today likes rap, and loves Vincent Price. With his thigh-shaking, cigarette-puffing manner, Smith cultivates Dr. Huey P. Newton who wrote his doctoral thesis on the Black Panthers at UC Santa Cruz and was killed in 1989. It's helmed by the first filmmaker that would come to anyone's mind to direct this material, Lee, the relentlessly socially conscious filmmaker known for tackling issues of Black American identity and racial politics as well as autobiographical themes. But in the grouping of New Territories, the film's well-placed in terms of subject but as a film it's a filmed staged production and fails to be ground-breaking.
Were we fearful of having our bourgeois advantages taken away? Was it unfounded fear? Were they gun-toting terrorists or just one of several collective, anti-capitalist, anti-racist movements? Or was the left-wing politics simply window dressing for a colossal, radical trend-propelled deception? Well, you won't hit upon resolutions to many of these questions in this TV adaptation of Smith's one-man show, but you will get an impressive illustration of a man every trace as complicated and multifaceted as the movement he co-established. As depicted by Smith, Newton is at first withdrawn and tenderly soft-spoken. But as he loosens up, the words come out in a hurried, capriciously connected deluge. Newton seems incapable of standing from his chair, but he's like a restless child and can hardly stay seated. Assured in his cleverness and with a flair for poetry, he's inclined to overstatement and blatant BS, using to excess and squandering terms like "existentialism," trying to make an impression, sweet-talk or alarm his audience into worshipping him, then slipping into bizarre, droll asides on race, politics, philosophy, Shakespeare, mythology and music.
Researchers have found that TV programs that feature black characters can influence both how young black viewers see themselves and how others view them. And Huey's clever, time and again rather uncanny, and undoubtedly distressed. He's somewhere between the most profoundly sharp underachiever you've ever met and that guy talking to himself at the bus stop. Smith gives an extremely impressive, tremendously physical performance entailing the severest, most persistent cigarette smoking I've ever seen.
Regardless, Spike Lee uses whatever tools he can to make this more than a plain transcript of a stage play, including blue screen effects and documentary footage. The prison-like set further underscores the acute remoteness of Huey Newton, who spent years in solitary confinement. In contrast, Lee's tendency for extreme close-ups that cut off parts of his subject's face and body merely functions to dissociates us from this enigmatic character. In the end, I'm not sure I know where the stage ends and the real Newton begins. But maybe that's the point.
Roger smith, brings alive the roots of newton's revolutionary morals, & his reflections on society, an amazing 5 star film never get tired of watching it!!!!
i can't believe 81% are not interested in this movie! this is timeless and intriguing.