Saturday, February 18, 2012

Movie: “Deadline” by Mark Ethridge, Produced by Curt Hahn

Uninvestigated, Unsolved, Unpunished…UNTIL NOW!

This movie is based on a true story from the book, Grievances, by Mark Ethridge.

Steve Talley and Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts star in Deadline, the story of the murder of an African American youth in rural Alabama that has gone uninvestigated, unsolved and unpunished for almost twenty years. But that changes when Nashville Times reporter Matt Harper meets an idealistic young blueblood bent on discovering the truth. Harper undertakes the investigation despite the opposition of his publisher, violent threats from mysterious forces, a break-up with his fiancée and his father’s cancer diagnosis. Deadline is a story of murder, family, race, and of redemption — for a small Southern town and for Matt Harper.

Inspired by a true story, Deadline is adapted from Mark Ethridge’s novel Grievances. Ethridge is a former managing editor of The Charlotte Observer. Deadline will be released in theaters nationwide in 2012.

**You can sign up for email updates on the website, here, for information about the special premiere tours and the movie’s release.**


“Mark Ethridge has captured the South in a way that is every bit as evocative as Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and he has told a story as riveting as the best Grisham courtroom thriller. But Grievances is no mere thriller. It is a story of the heart that will resonate with readers long after they have turned the final page.”
~ Pat Conroy, Author of My Losing Season, The Great Santini and The Prince of Tides

Deadline is an important, terrific movie, with the kind of compelling story and fascinating characters that made The Help so engaging. Beautifully acted and directed, with a fine attention to the details of the newspaper world.” ~ Dr. Linda Seger, Script Consultant on over 2,000 scripts and author of Making a Good Script Great.

My Review:

Amos, AL, 1993. A young black man, Wallace Simpson, was gunned down. It was never investigated until Police Chief Amos Perringer was murdered near the same spot almost 20 years later. Why would the Chief be murdered near the same place as Wallace? Or is it just a coincidence? Or retribution?

Young Trey Hall, who was raised by Wallace’s mother and bent on finding out the truth, came to Reporter Matt Harper of The Nashville Times, requesting his help in solving the Simpson murder. Having been made a scapegoat for his latest newspaper article, which caused a picket line outside the paper, Matt wanted a ‘go’ from the editor to investigate this case. It was granted, but only if he took (Ronnie) Bullock with him. Bullock was the last person Matt wanted to work with.

As the investigation gets started, Matt Harper and Bullock have an early contentious relationship that eventually works into a compatible, blended reporting team that bordered on hilarity at times. To complicate matters for Matt, Delana Calhoun broke off their engagement. However, bringing Trey Hall into the picture bumped up the tension between Matt and Delana, as her jealousy over seeing Matt working with Trey seemed more than she was able to handle.

Through all the scenarios of Matt and Bullock, and Matt, Delana and Trey, nothing took away from the seriousness of the murder investigation. Matt and Bullock were tenacious in seeking truth. Even jealous Delana became amenable to talking with the women involved, as they wouldn’t open up with the men. Truth and justice appeared to outweigh the relationship issues.

The investigative process was so apropos for the times and prejudices of the area and the type of crime. It was powerful and intensive, and seemingly unending at times. The climactic ending, based on the extensive investigating, was priceless.

I was profoundly affected by the heinous murder of Wallace Simpson. He’d just been with his girlfriend, Vanessa Brown, reading poems and saying goodnight. The gun blast came out of the blue, and is one I won’t soon forget. The fact that the murder became a non-issue because he was black made me angry, as I, too, wanted to see justice and resolution.

Racist comments become an issue of concern, though back in those days it seemed appropriate to some white people.

This being an election year, I felt the picture of the President, who is running for reelection, was inappropriate. It would also have been more uplifting to show a pastor who is able to vent his anger over the injustices, yet still be able to lift it to the Lord in faith, like Mary Pell Sampson was doing.

A vimeo view of Deadline was provided by Matt Slaughter of BuzzPlant in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.

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