Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad Steele: 'How to Get Away w/ Murder' & 'Black-ish' - the Good & the Bad "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap "Randy, Red Superfreak and Julia" - 'Scandal' Season 4 Premiere Recap 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... 'How to Get Away with Murder' Episode 1 Recap + Your Thoughts... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Read What YOU Thought About 'Black-ish' After Last Night's Premiere... Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? Storm Would Have to be Recast for Future 'X-Men' Movies. Who Would You Like to See Play Her? 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) 5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/23/14) Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio Awkward Black Girl's Next Misadventure: Her Own Studio 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. 101-Year-Old Film Footage Found in Museum's Collection Is Earliest-Known Feature Made w/ Black Actors. First Public Screening in Nov. Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Once Supporters Now Critical of Actress Daniele Watts, as Civil Rights Activists Call on Actress to Apologize Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Thankfully, 'The Equalizer' Gets an "R" Rating From the MPAA (No Surprise Here) Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Early Reviews Say 'How To Get Away With Murder' is Very Much in the Style of 'Scandal.' Good Thing or Not? Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series ABC Is Making Changes To The Next-Day Online Availability Of Its Series Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting Denzel Washington Reveals Daughter Is In 'Django Unchained' + Roles He Regrets Rejecting Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More) Exclusive: Omari Hardwick Raw (Career Evolution, Transition, Testimony Of Faith In Hollywood, 'Kick-Ass 2,' More)

ABFF 2013 Review: 'The Suspect' Explores Race Relations in Unpredictable Thriller

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act June 24, 2013 at 7:05PM

ABFF 2013 Review: 'The Suspect' Explores Race Relations in Unpredictable Thriller
14

The Suspect Poster

The Suspect was conceived two years ago by Stuart Connelly, author who co-authored the Martin Luther King, Jr. biography Behind The Dream: The Making of the Speech that Transformed a Nation

Connelly's first feature film, which premiered over the weekend at the 2013 American Black Film Festival, stars Mekhi Phifer and Sterling K. Brown as two social scientists who infiltrate a small midwestern town in order to explore law enforcement's racism and bigotry in the isolated rural area.  

A black man robs a bank in the small town. Phifer's character is seen walking along the side of the road. He is stopped and arrested soon after, and brought into a cell for questioning regarding the robbery. The general interrogation style, which is being recorded, is obvious indication of racial profiling. The word "boy" is thrown about; the officials perception of "you all look alike" is readily apparent, and the sheriffs are more keen on securing a conviction than seeking real evidence and fair witness identification. After all, there is no evidence linking "the suspect" to the robbery.

Since this is an experiment (we don't find out right away), the suspect buys time and almost plays along, egging on the officials for more proof of plain bigotry in order to justify the experiment. 

While watching, I questioned the plausibility of such experiment; but it's a film, and its hypothetical premise allowed for some peculiar and interesting exploration of race dynamics. Although, such dynamics may be apparent and/or not subtle: racist law officials trying to convict innocent black men, the latter who, are educated professionals playing the race card. Yet, as the film progresses, the mystery heightens and clues to what's really behind this experiment are slowly revealed. 

Without giving much away, our suspect's partner, played by Brown, is in charge of returning the money to the bank, come back to the station and clear the suspect. They have gotten away with this experiment once before. However, things go awry when Brown's character doesn't return, and the suspect is forced to come clean - well sort of - to the officials, and along with them, the suspect must now find his partner.

I only wish the real motive behind the experiment would have been unveiled relatively earlier in the film. There are plenty of flashbacks; but one may grow frustrated, especially during once scene while the suspect is telling his partner about a plan. He's watching something on a projector, which clearly has him distraught. 

However, the modestly-produced Suspect catapults into a big unexpected climax towards and at the very end of the film. Nothing is what it seems, and our black scientists may not be so *heroic* after all. The unique thriller has plenty of twists and turns, and succeeds with its unpredictability. It's also a film you may ponder upon and appreciate more once it's over, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

This article is related to: ABFF


Shadow & ActNewsletter