5 July 2015 | chrisroberts-5
Admirable effort; borderline execution
Rock the Paint is a film with fine and noble intentions. A modern-day examination of lingering racial tensions at the high school level, the story focuses on several basketball players in Newark.
Douglas Smith is convincing and effective in the lead role. He's a great emerging talent. Unfortunately, the cast around him is average at best with many overplaying their roles to almost cringe-inducing effect. The drama is pushed a little hard in points and the basketball scenes are completely not convincing at portraying basketball at the characterized level. The film has a definite "independent" feel to it. I love independent film, so that's not a big problem for me, but others will probably criticize the production values. The soundtrack induces a headache in about 3 minutes and keeps pounding away throughout the film; I'd go so far as to call it obnoxious.
The big sore spot here is the actor playing the "little brother" character. He's painful to watch. It's like junior high drama theatre. Every scene that he's in robs the movie of any sense of realism.
Still, the film is watchable and one can only criticize it so much given its underlying message and sufficiently competent script. The theme is a good one and Douglas Smith is a pleasure to watch.