August 99: Blind Faith

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by Sékou & Tamala Newbold
Written by: Written by Frank Military
Directed by: Ernest Dickerson
Studio: Showtime Entertainment & Neufeld Rehme Productions
Cast: Charles Dutton, Courtney B. Vance, Kadeem Hardison, Lonette McKee, Garland Whitt
Blind Faith Poster

Blind what?? Yeah, yeah, I know you've never heard of it, but hear us out. It'll be worth your while.

HBO better watch its butt. The days of HBO being the solitary choice for cable owners may be coming to an end. Looks like Showtime may be upping the proverbial ante by creating some quality programming for African-American viewers. As proof we offer Blind Faith, a Showtime original movie that was so good it should have made it to the big screen.


It's the late fifties. Charles Dutton has busted his butt to become one of the very first officers of color in the NYPD. His beat and his home are in the Bronx, where he rules over his wife and three children like a burly Gestapo. The oldest of his children, Charlie, is a soft-spoken, gentle young man who gravitates toward art rather than the police academy. Dutton's idyllic life comes crashing down around him when Charlie is accused of killing a local white boy. Courtney Vance plays Dutton's younger brother, a Fordham educated attorney who is charged with saving his nephew. He quickly discovers that the facts in the case don't make any sense. So why is Charlie stubbornly sticking to the same implausible story? What is he hiding? The movie swirls around this mysterious secret, race relations in New York City and the tense interrelationships of Dutton's family to create a riveting tsunami of a movie.


Charles Dutton gives a compelling, Oscar-worthy performance as the Ÿber-authoritarian, marine-cum-police officer, Charles Williams, Sr. In some of the movie's most gripping scenes, he compels the viewer not only to witness but to feel his emotional and spiritual deterioration as he stubbornly clings to his own versions of right and wrong. Courtney Vance deftly portrays the precarious, and often lonely, uphill battle attorney John Williams faced?- both from the 1950s "justice" system as well as from his own family-- as he tried the case. Other noteworthy performances are newcomer Garland Whitt's silent but chilling presence as Dutton's wrongly accused son, Charles Jr.; Kadeem Hardison's role as Eddie, the saxophone playing black sheep of the family; and Lonette McKee's turn as the woman who must ultimately choose to fight for her oldest child, no matter the cost.


Run, do not walk, to your nearest video store and get this movie. Blind Faith is a welcome respite from the run of the mill booty flicks that have recently flooded the African-American movie scene. This film examines issues of race, justice, sexism and morality in a non-preaching, non-judgmental manner. If you're looking for a well-written, thought-provoking story, combined with dynamite acting, Blind Faith is definitely the film to see!


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