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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

because you missed it in theaters: ‘Blood Done Sign My Name’

This is one of the best movies so far of 2010, and you probably haven’t even heard of it, because, as I wrote in my review of the theatrical release back in February:

[G]ood luck finding Blood Done Sign My Name at your local multiplex. The site I generally use for all my box office info, Box Office Mojo, doesn’t even acknowledge that the film is opening today. Another site, The Numbers, has the film debuting on a paltry 95 screens. Thirty years ago, when mainstream movies were still intended for grownups, this would have been An Event, a movie that serious film fans would have been clamoring to see: a smart, serious, honest, passionate, well-crafted story about a tough social problem for which there are no easy solutions. Today, it seems, the closest mainstream movies can get to such a thing is Sandra Bullock in a blond wig and an over-the-top accent dishing out quick fixes, with hugs all round as the credits roll.

But now Blood Done Sign My Name has been released on DVD in Region 1 [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada], and I urge you to check it out. More from my review:

I want to say that there’s something old-fashioned about Blood, though that sounds like an insult these days and I certainly don’t mean it like that: the old-fashionedness is in writer-director Jeb Stuart’s dedication to storytelling without any pretense to anything other than the story and the indignation it inspires. There are no stars here who demand dramatic moments of speechifying; there is no coddling of reality in order to protect the audience from having to think about or feel something uncomfortable for which there is no corresponding way out to keep us from having to dwell on it later. Which isn’t to say, either, that this isn’t a powerfully told story with a traditional narrative. Through the separate threads of Chavis and the Tysons, Stuart (who wrote The Fugitive and Die Hard) builds inexorably to the reason he’s telling the tale in the first place: the powder keg atmosphere of Oxford results in the brutal murder of a completely innocent black man by three white men. But it’s in how Stuart gets there, and where he goes afterward — in the further miscarriage of justice that occurs in the aftermath, and how those outraged by it all respond — that makes Blood so genuine and so rewarding a film.

The rest of my review is here. Please don’t miss this film now that it’s much easier to find.

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  • gensing

    Thanks for the heads up – I’ve wanted to see it since your review but had forgotten to look for it the past month.

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