VIDEO: The trailer for American Violet
Arrested for a crime she didn't commit, Dee Roberts (a measured, wonderful debut from Nicole Beharie) is enlisted by an ACLU lawyer (Tim Blake Nelson) to sue the county for racist intent and stop the DA from what is continually referred to as "terrorizing the black community." There are two ways to react to director Tim Disney (Walt's great-nephew) and his tone of righteous indignation.
As a drama based on a true story, American Violet succeeds on the strength of its excellent performances and Disney's acute understanding of the bitter Catch-22 of the poor. As an indictment of racism and injustice, however, the movie falls short: its cops are all tyrants and bigots, its residents are all innocent victims, and Disney's arguments are all black and white. Hey, guess what? Racism is bad.