Blood Done Sign My Name
PG-13
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: +2

Rick Schroder, Nate Parker. Drama. Written & directed by Jeb Stuart.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In 1970 Henry Marrow, a black Vietnam veteran, was murdered by a local white man, Robert Teel, and his sons. The Teels were acquitted by an all-white jury, which caused riots and arson in Oxford, North Carolina. Based on true events, the story is seen from the perspective of a white Methodist minister who tried in vain to get his congregation to reconcile with their African-American neighbors. It was already too late; the black citizens of this small Southern town had decided to take matters into their own hands.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I have viewed many films depicting bigotry in the South. Each one points out America’s growing pains, as humans hold onto ancestral ways of life either out of ignorance, pride or greed. For example, even though we know full well that smoking can kill, there are still people who grow tobacco. That’s what their family has always done with their land. But many tobacco growers would rather switch than fight (if I may use a variation of a line from an old cigarette ad). They have found they can make a living growing something else. Some can no longer bring themselves to continue in this occupation after having been bombarded by facts from the media about the ills of the tobacco leaf. They can no longer in good conscious contribute to the deaths of others by growing tobacco.

Blood Done Sign My Name continues in a fine tradition (Sounder, To Kill A Mockingbird) of reminding us of the ills of bigotry and ignorance through solid storytelling.

The production also reminded me that there is an evil that continues to spread – its name is apathy. When people remain silent, look the other way, or get so engrossed in their own daily lives while wrongs are committed, the bad guy (the devil) wins a battle. Throughout the world there are people under duress by their country’s leadership or groups with more influence than themselves. We need to be aware/reminded of these evil deeds.

Throughout recorded history we’ve seen Evil attempt to extinguish not just the rights of groups of people, but their very lives. Hitler convinced a nation that the Jews were the cause of all their problems, and if they could be eliminated the world would be a better place. Certain tribes in Africa gathered up fellow countrymen and sold them for profit. Slavery still continues in certain nations to this day. And even though we have no video footage to make a tactile impression, historians record the fact that the first followers of Christ were slaughtered as people viewed the spectacle in an arena. They actually sat there, like people assembled to watch a football game, viewing their fellowmen being tortured to death.

Bigotry is an insidious disease yet to be wiped out. It has been controlled, treated, even put into remission at times, but it keeps sprouting up when we are not vigilant. When viewing this movie, let’s remember that we must speak up and act whenever we see the rights of others trampled upon.

Okay, this sounds more like a sermon than a review. Here’s my reason for not deleting the above paragraphs. Blood Done Sign My Name reminded me of these matters. Its message stuck with me. What better compliment could I give a film?

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Paladin and Real Folk Productions

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Four obscenities, mostly the s-word; three or four minor expletives and the N-word is used six times, sometimes by bigoted white men, sometimes by blacks themselves.
Profanity: I heard one misuse of Jesus’ name.
Violence: The brutal beating and subsequent shooting of an innocent black man by a white father and his two sons; we see the crime again through a flashback; the injustice and brutality of the act is difficult to sit through, but it shows how far prejudice can go.

Blood: There is blood from the beating and shooting.
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Some beer drinking
Other: None
Running Time: 128 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Older

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (www.previeoOnline.org)