Despite the fact that this was shot over a very short period and with a low budget, but it still ends up being a fairly decent watch. I know that does not sound like a very enthusiastic recommendation, but it is a straight-to-video DVD so that is as strong as its going to get. The deal is that it is a slow paced story of racial tension in a small southern town.
The tendency is that when something big happens in the past and you don't deal with it the likelihood is that it will come back to haunt you. In the case of small southern town Julia, the big thing is the unsolved murder of a civil rights worker and the thing that comes back to haunt them is continued racial tension.
Julia, South Carolina is a small southern town that has an even smaller, poor and primarily black neighbourhood called Gospel Hill. Gospel Hill is getting ready to celebrate the 40th anniversary of assassination of civil rights activist Paul Malcolm. His murder has never been solved and the racial tensions remain simmering just underneath the surface. The residents of Gospel Hill know that the struggle for equality is still ongoing today.
Paul Malcolm's son John (Danny Glover – Saw V, Lethal Weapon) works as a car mechanic from his house. He wants nothing to do with the ongoing racial struggles and just basically wants to go about his life. Incredibly he has even managed to repress his feelings of anger towards the town's ex-sheriff, Jack Herrod (Tom Bower – The Hills Have Eyes – 2006, North Country), the man who allowed his father's murder to go unsolved.
His wife Sarah (Angela Bassett – Akeelah and the Bee, Notorious) is the complete obvious in that she is very involved in the community. She is presently fighting against a proposed development of a multi-million dollar golf course taking away land from the poorer black residents of Gospel Hill. Her battle is made all the more difficult as influential and wealthy black community leader Dr. Ron Palmer (Giancarlo Esposito – Last Holiday, Derailed) supports the development.
Soon enough an event happens that forces John to face the fact that the fight for racial equality in Gospel Hill did not die with his father.
Despite the fact that the script is fairly weak and definitely takes a simplistic outlook on the whole issue, there are still some good points to it. Director/actor Esposito does tend to for the most part steer clear of the usual stereotypes and negativity that surrounds films on this subject. That alone is a welcome breath of fresh air. That is not to say that the film does not rely on clichés to get its point across. It does and it leads me to think that films about racism cannot be made without leaning fairly heavily on this crutch.