REVIEW: Hate U Give a complex film on race, police brutality

The Hate U Give, a riff on 2Pac’s THUG-LIFE narrative, explores the idea that the oppression placed on young, coloured kids will inform their distrust of police and untoward behaviour later on.

This film explores the idea that nurture, not nature, in one’s upbringing has a whole lot to do with our social attitudes. In a social setting where #BlackLivesMatter is a hot-button topic, there couldn’t be a more timely place to discuss police brutality.

This film, based on the #1 best-selling book by Angie Thomas, brings those words to life and gives them a unique, heart-wrenching resonance.

Amandla Stenberg has graduated from romantic-dramas and Young Adult genre films with this star turn, one that will catapult her into one of the most talented, recognizable faces of her generation.

She’s reflective, jarring and an emotional powerhouse as Starr Carter, a girl growing up in the hood who goes to private school far away. She lives two lives, but they crash together one night when her friend is killed in front of her during a traffic stop.

She must decide between preserving her identities or standing up for what’s right in one of the most taut, powerful films of the year.

George Tillman Jr., mostly known for throwaway films like The Rock-starrer Faster and Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Longest Ride, proves he can sustain a serious drama here.

Credit goes to the supporting cast, including Archie Andrews himself — K.J. Apa from Riverdale — Regina Hall, Anthony Mackie and Common.

But perhaps the best performance — our lead notwithstanding — comes from Russell Hornsby as a doting father who left a life of crime to provide for his family.

After a great supporting part in Fences and seven years on CW show Grimm, it looks like Hornsby has made it, especially with Creed II on the horizon.

Expect to be angry. Expect to be emotional after watching this film. But most of all, expect to see a lot more of 20-year-old Stenberg, because she’s a star to watch.

4.5/5 Stars

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: