Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
This "Faith-Based" Drama Is Giving 'Straight Outta Compton' a Run for Its Money This Weekend... This "Faith-Based" Drama Is Giving 'Straight Outta Compton' a Run for Its Money This Weekend... Lee Daniels' Richard Pryor Biopic Is Officially Ready to Go (Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy, Oprah Winfrey, Kate Hudson) Lee Daniels' Richard Pryor Biopic Is Officially Ready to Go (Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy, Oprah Winfrey, Kate Hudson) Watch 5 Clips from Regina King's Feature Directorial Debut 'Let The Church Say Amen' Starring Naturi Naughton Watch 5 Clips from Regina King's Feature Directorial Debut 'Let The Church Say Amen' Starring Naturi Naughton Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar Righting a Past Wrong? Academy to Present Spike Lee with Honorary Oscar African-American Female Team Produce Indie Horror Film ‘The Dark Rite’ African-American Female Team Produce Indie Horror Film ‘The Dark Rite’ Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington Viola Davis Says She Will Star in a Film Adaptation of 'Fences' Directed by Denzel Washington "This Is a Relationship" - Watch Michael Ealy Frighten Sanaa Lathan in Tense First Clip From 'The Perfect Guy' "This Is a Relationship" - Watch Michael Ealy Frighten Sanaa Lathan in Tense First Clip From 'The Perfect Guy' Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Vin Diesel Says He's Returning for a 'xXx' Threequel - Filming to Start in December Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades Updates on Steve McQueen's "Epic" Series Centered on a Black Community in London, Over 3 Decades This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' This Is What Angela Bassett and Naomi Campbell Will Look Like in 'American Horror Story: Hotel' Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy Quentin Tarantino Says 'The Hateful Eight' Will Be Timely & Will Tackle White Supremacy But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series But What About Black Superheroines, You Ask? Watch Episode 1 of CW Seed's Vixen Series Watch: Trailer for Miniseries Based on Life of Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz (Coming This Fall) Watch: Trailer for Miniseries Based on Life of Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz (Coming This Fall) Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Watch: First Look at Season Three of 'Hit the Floor' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Brad Pitt's Plan B + 'Ex Machina' Distribution Company Team up for Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight' Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Jay Ellis and Yvonne Orji Join Issa Rae in 'Insecure' for HBO Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates 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... AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey' AFM News: Danny Glover, Derek Luke Will Play Prison Inmates In 3D Drama 'Long Day Journey'

LAFF Review: Director Deon Taylor Explores Real Life Racial Horror in 'Supremacy'

Shadow and Act By Nijla Mumin | Shadow and Act June 20, 2014 at 2:09PM

Director Deon Taylor’s suspense thriller "Supremacy," centers on any black family’s worst nightmare: being held hostage by an Aryan Brotherhood member just released from a 14-year prison stint.
9
Danny Glover and Lela Rochon in "Supremacy"
Danny Glover and Lela Rochon in "Supremacy"

Director Deon Taylor’s dramatic thriller "Supremacy," centers on any black family’s worst nightmare: being held hostage by an Aryan Brotherhood member just released from a 14-year prison stint.

Based on a true story, the film follows Tully (Joe Anderson), as he is just released from prison, and is picked up by an Aryan Brotherhood groupie, Doreen (Dawn Oliveri). Later, a police officer stops their car and Tully murders him. Escaping the scene, they break into a black family’s old farmhouse, headed by Mr. Walker (Danny Glover) and his young wife Odessa, played by a rough and tumble Lela Rochon. As Tully and Doreen plot their escape and wreak havoc on the family, a shrewd Mr. Walker attempts to negotiate with Tully.

What’s most interesting about the film is the way family dynamics and conflict come to head as danger ensues. A young boy in the house ponders if Doreen and Tully will kill his family as they make sandwiches in the eerie kitchen, while Odessa warns her young daughter Cassie that she shouldn’t have had two children in the first place. The film also reveals an interesting paternal tension between Mr. Walker and his son, a police officer played by Derek Luke.

It is refreshing to see Lela Rochon in a starkly different role than we’ve seen her in past films, where her beauty and sex appeal tended to take precedent. Here, she is stripped down, without makeup with a tattoo on her neck and messy wig, just trying to save her family, and get out of the house. In one of the most moving scenes, she talks openly and honestly to Tully, unafraid of the violence he’s committed. It’s scary and comforting as her humanity strikes something in him.

Shot on 16mm film, Taylor utilizes his horror film background to render a sense of dread and danger in the grainy darkness and shadows of the aged interior house location, which often feels haunted. However, the complex visual design doesn’t always match the tone of the film, especially in scenes where Tully and Doreen’s overt racism is supposed to intimidate or feel dangerous. Many racially-offensive lines are actually quite funny and forced, especially a line from Doreen telling Odessa that her name should be something like “Shaniqua,” or Tully calling Cassie's baby a “niglet,” but perhaps that’s the point; to pinpoint how insane racism is to the point of humor.

However, in a film about such grave subject matter, we expect Tully’s character to evoke something more in us- fear, loathing, anger- but that never really happened for me. In a super-charged performance, he elicits empathy and curiosity, but not much else. I wanted to feel more for him, but I knew only of his actions in this house and that did little to reveal character as much as it showcased the Aryan views he subscribed to.

In the end, "Supremacy" rests on a premise that makes for high drama and surprise, though it's not always executed. It’s the stuff of nightmarish fiction but the nonfiction source material adds a level of depth to its commentary on racism and race relations in America today. You never know who could be coming through your front door, and how to negotiate with the hatred they may bring.    


This article is related to: Danny Glover, Lela Rochon, Derek Luke, Evan Ross, L.A. Film Fest


Shadow & ActNewsletter