Popcorn Perspectives – Week of September 14, 2020

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of September 14, 2020

A_D27_0137.RAF

Antebellum
Rated R for disturbing violent content, language, and sexual references
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 33% at time of writing
Available On-Demand

There are two very distinct movies here with Antebellum: the one advertised in the trailers and the actual 105 minute narrative. The trailer tells the story of a highly successful black woman in modern times who somehow gets whisked away to a slave plantation where she must use her courage and wit to find a way back to reality. From the brief minutes spent watching, you can tell that this could very well be a sci-fi horror classic, in the vein of Get Out or US. Then there is this film, which contains some of the same elements, but in different order, with a cruel and bitter tone, and practically void of the theme it is begging to have standing firmly behind it. The film opens with said successful woman (Janelle Monáe) who is a slave, both physically and sexually, on a plantation in Louisiana. She is victim and witness to every sort of cruelty given to slaves in that day. And once that most dangerous of situations is firmly established, we see the same woman in the modern day, on top of the world, with a loving family and a booming career. Where it goes next is probably well-known to anyone even slightly familiar going in. To further the description would be to give the whole thing away. I don’t want to elude that every movie should be a longer version of the trailer and that I wished it was like most movie advertisements today in the way it ruins the narrative power of the picture. I hate it when I see a concise two minute version of the movie with all of its best scenes. That typically means that the film being marketed lacks substance or quality. But in this case, the trailer is quite brilliant in that it conveys a potentially powerful tale that promises to be eye-opening, compelling, and possibly, if we are lucky, mind-blowing. But here we aren’t lucky. The story we end up with is ugly, deceitful and sadly predictable, rather than intelligent, poignant and frightening. It is stripped of any kind of grander purpose it was more than capable of possessing. It’s like being promised fine dining only to discover a bag of stale fast food. The funny thing is – I still want the film I expected to see. If there was a way to retool this clunker, I would be back in a minute. C-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *