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In 1970 Henry Marrow, a black Vietnam veteran, is murdered by a local white man, Robert Teel, and his sons. The Teels were acquitted by an all-white jury, which caused riots and arson in Oxford, N.C.
Even among civil rights movies, Blood Done Sign My Name is remarkably earnest, but its big heart can't cover for the bland acting and TV-style melodrama that blunts the movie's impact.
You can't deny the inspirational qualities of the story or Parker's screen presence, any more than you could accuse the film of subtlety or of masking its conspicuous pro-Christian agenda.
What the film lacks in psychological nuance it makes up for in unassuming, intimate social observation.
Riveting, Real-Life, Civil Rights-Era Drama Released on DVD.
Though it can't quite transcend its filmmaker's earnest intentions, this solemn history lesson offers several powerful moments.
The story is well-told and well worth telling.
The acting, like the storytelling, is quietly convincing.
Along the way there are many fine, precisely observed moments showing what race relations were like in this little tobacco town at the turn of the decade.
Beautifully shot and well-acted, if earnest, overlong and unfocused.
If this were a 1970s TV movie, it probably would have won a boatload of Emmys. Now, it lacks impact, although parents or grandparents worried their children don't appreciate the sacrifices of decades past might want to use it as a teaching tool.
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