While Son Of The South, a race-relations film executive produced by Spike Lee, is never boring, it never ignites real emotion from its source material.
Based on real-life white abolitionist Bob Zellner, the film follows the Southern boy’s work to fight for equal rights in the summer of 1961.
Director Barry Alexander Brown, a long-time editor on Spike Lee films, makes his biggest directorial project to date here, but the script just isn’t infused with the kind of drama and sensitivity it needs.
It’s more of a fly-on-the-wall expose than anything else, and it feels like these events are washed over to be more politically correct. That is not what a film like this needs.
With a cast including the capable MacGyver star Lucas Till, Lucy Hale, Cedric the Entertainer, and the incredible Lex Scott Davis, it’s a decent ensemble, but no one feels fully drawn out.
Case among them is the shadow of a character played by Brian Dennehy. The veteran actor, who passed in 2020, plays a Ku Klux Klan member, but has no bite and no real immediate danger to him.
The whole film is a rather mild affair given the inspiration. Never boring, it just never seems to get past half-tilt either.