Review: The True Story of a Texas Town
April 23, 2009
By Kamille Carlisle
American Violet, a film currently playing at the Angelika, is an intriguing portrayal of a true story about a small town in Texas that was plagued by a crooked District Attorney who indicted many of the town’s poor African-Americans on drug charges for profit.
The film, set in Melody, TX in 2000, revolves around the case of Dee Roberts, played by Nicole Beharie, who was a young mother of four, wrongfully taken into custody for selling narcotics in a school zone. With the help of the ACLU and the town’s local attorney, she risked everything and sued the domineering D.A., played by Michael O’Keefe, changing Texas’ policy on indictments.
It was a truly gripping story about the role of race in the small southern town and the courage of a woman who did not want to plead guilty to avoid a prison sentence. Her integrity saved many blacks in her community from wrongful sentences.
The independent film, directed by Tim Disney and written by Bill Haney, does an effective job of relaying the compelling message of the story. The acting in the film is generally decent, better at some points than others, but overall, I was drawn in and invested into Dee Roberts’ struggle.
The film is definitely worth seeing, especially for anyone with interest in how a real change was made in the Texas justice system.