On the Big Board
|Great film that deserves to be doing bigger business.
|The story loses its way in the second half, but the actors are all great - particularly Cheadle, who once again proves that he is one of the very best.
Ralph Waldo Greene’s life did not get off to the best of starts. A lust for vices such as narcotics led the man to a life of a crime. Eventually, he was arrested and imprisoned for armed robbery. He was 32-years-old and facing a ten year sentence for his mistakes. His life appeared to be a waste. Then, fate offered an unexpected twist. During his unfortunate incarceration, Greene found a new vocation. He became the disk jockey for the inmates of his prison. He even manipulated circumstances in order to make himself a celebrity to them by talking another convict into threatening to commit suicide. At this point, Green "convinced" the man not to kill himself. A hero was born.
After receiving parole, the disc jockey called Petey by his friends, found himself employable for the first time. He received a radio show called Rapping with Petey Greene, and his success in this format led to an influential television gig. Petey Greene’s Washington was a tough-minded look at insider politics as well as the racial disharmony frequently ignored by the government. Greene was a stubbornly controversial figure, embracing (or manufacturing) conflict wherever he could. The man’s celebration of free speech as well as his willingness to "tell it like it is" on-air made him the precursor to many of the top shock jockeys in the industry today.
Talk To Me is a Focus Features release wherein Don Cheadle portrays African-American icon Petey Greene from his tough early years until he died from cancer. BOP fave Chiwetel Ejiofor is also cast as Greene’s long-suffering producer, Dewey Hughes. The film seems more appropriately released as an end-of-year awards contender instead of being slotted against popcorn summer fare. The counter-programming gamble is an interesting one for Focus. (David Mumpower/BOP)