10 May 2000 | rphillips
Vietnam vet forced to confront his past
I saw this film at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and found it to be an impressive exploration of themes that are generally ignored in mainstream Hollywood cinema. John Shed, an African American Vietnam vet is forced to confront his past when his half-Vietnamese daughter arrives from Vietnam. The film manages to explore issues of racial relationships among Vietnamese, African Americans, and white people in America without being exploitative. Tom Wright -- a veteran of a number of John Sayles movies -- give an excellent portrayal of John Shed as a man wrestling with his internal demons. The film, which was shot in the San Francisco Bay Area, also looks great and the score (mostly jazz and some R&B) is well chosen and acute.
The film is definitely a mood piece and an exploration of character rather than plot driven and, in fact, several of the plot elements remain unresolved at the end. And, not all of the performances are as convincing as they could be. But, I would recommend Dumbarton Bridge as a thoughtful exploration of the interaction between personal and racial issues in modern day America.