4 December 2005 | vertigo_14
It's hard to take this movie seriously. (spoilers)
Despite the gravity of the subject and probably the good intentions of the filmmakers to make a film addressing white supremacy, the inconsistencies of its main character, Bronson Green, aspiring New York actor easily turned L.A. phony, makes it hard to take the story seriously. Green, who is constantly rejected by Los Angeles casting agents for being obsolete (i.e. too New York when the 80s is looking for big, blonde, and dumb), he finds success comes easily when he's willing to succumb to falsifying his image. Unfortunately, the new hair dye and pacified "surfer" attitude lands him an acting opportunity with the Jericho Church, which subscribes white supremacist teaching of the Aryan nation. Green is willing to easily forget his past, and particularly turning his back on his young black friend of ten years, in order to be the Church's new spokesman. This makes no sense, seeing as how principled our character initially is. It is this sudden, and loose change in character, coupled with an abrupt reversion back to the hardened, DeNiro-obsessed (as his Taxi Driver character) form who is able to battle the villains. A noble attempt on the filmmakers, but one that ultimately reveals itself as anything but serious.
The other characters, too, are quite annoying and what we are forced to recognize in them comes too easily -- the psychotic paranoia of the Church leader, the self-interested actress girlfriend (the first girlfriend Bronson has when he's in L.A.), and the new blonde girlfriend who's character lacks so much development, she is, for the most part, just a walking, talking void. We are just supposed to see them in fleeting moments in which something random forces us to draw assumptions about the characters. But there is really little development of any of them.
The other problem with this film is the ungodly amount of time the characters are involved in very little important action. Much of the beginning concerns introducing the characters, obviously, and later we see Bronson's difficulties with breaking into the L.A. acting scene and the frustrations which stem from constant rejection. But after he does willingly change his looks and personality in order to become accepted, there is at least a good twenty minutes to thirty minutes of wasted film in which very little of anything happens.
For films that seek to draw attention to the irrational fears behind racism, this was not one done with enough credibility.