14 March 2013

Black and White


Black and White (2012)
  • Director: James Toback
  • Based on Book: no
  • Cast: A lot of people, including Robert Downey Jr., Elijah Wood, Ben Stiller, Claudia Schiffer, Brook Shields. They were essentially the ones I recognized.
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Robert Downey, Jr.: Richard III, Sherlock Holmes, The Soloist, A Scanner Darkly and more
    • Elijah Wood: Everything is Illuminated, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Paris je t’aime, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    • Ben Stiller: Greenberg. I think that’s the only movie I’ve seen him in.
    • Brook Shields: I’ve never seen her in a movie but in Friends
  • Why bought: cheap. Robert Downey Jr., Elijah Wood, good review in Maltin
  • Seen: October 21, 2012


The DVD box calls this a comedy.  It is not a comedy.  It is an unsettling look at race relationships and it ends in tragedy, at least for one of the characters, and pretty empty lives for all the rest.
The concept is this: some rich bourgeois white kids are enamored of the world of the black hood in New York.  They talk the talk and they walk the walk and the white girls have sex with the black guys (there’s only one black girl – she flits in and out of the movie and none of the white boys have sex with her).  The black guys are puzzled and angry about these white kids buzzing around in their lives but they try to carry on their business in a world where, outside of the hood, whites have the power.
Like the black guys I found the white kids irritating.  But I also found the black guys irritating.  I didn’t like anybody.  The only character who evoked some sympathy did a stupid thing and got himself killed.
Was it a good movie? Yes. Did I like it? Not really. It is definitely an intelligent movie about a real societal phenomenon but it was confusing at times and although there was an interesting discussion on identity I couldn’t, and didn’t want to, identify with any of them.

2 ½ * of 5.

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