Wassup, y’all! Mobb Deep once said there was a war going on outside. In fact, there are many wars going on. Wars for justice, wars for equality, even wars for peace.
In the new movie “The Best of Enemies”, Taraji P. Henson goes to battle for the oppressed and underprivileged only to be met with opposition from Sam Rockwell and his army.
The film centers around Ann Atwater, a Durham, North Carolina civil rights activist and C.P. Ellis, President of a local Ku Klux Klan chapter, and a court-ordered decree that could change everyone’s way of life.
“The Best of Enemies” is based on a true story of 1971 events. I’m from Winston-Salem, North Carolina and I never heard of this story because I was so young, but I can believe it given the past overt and current covert racial tensions in this southern state. This is one of those films that causes you to look yourself in the face, forcing you to take a self-assessment of your true feelings for others of a different color, but more so a reality check of why you don’t like a particular group of people. But, in order for a film like this to have that kind of impact, the plot must be soul-stirring, and the actors must be nothing less than phenomenal. You will be moved by both!
The entire cast is committed to their roles. You can tell they absolutely love their craft. Everyone’s performances will affect you in some form or fashion. Henson totally transforms herself into Atwater. Her mannerisms, movements, and accent are flawless. She is a persistent, stubborn, aggressive 1970’s civil rights leader and she holds nothing back. This is the Taraji P. Henson we’ve all been waiting for. These are the roles she must demand from here on out! That B-list shyt is over.
Rockwell as Ellis…boy oh boy. His role is the most complex but he makes it seem easy with his acting skills. He is the President of the Klan, the most vile terrorist organization in American history. We see how he interacts with his brethren, giving us a look into their world and logic, however flawed it may be. We also see him as a family man, someone trying to hold it all together while dealing with personal struggles. The other cast members play pivotal roles, immersing themselves in their characters in an effort to project thought-provoking material through the camera and I guarantee we all have traits of their characteristics in us.
“The Best of Enemies” deals with a localized plot yet so universal. The subplot is the underlying, hidden gem. The cinematography reinforces this trying time in the south with buildings, trees, dirt roads and desegregated but still predominately-white and unwelcomed establishments.
“The Best of Enemies” stays as true to 1970’s race relations by dealing with a certain ordeal, but it also let’s us see things from various points-of-view and doesn’t judge. It lets us decide who’s right and who’s wrong. I do have a problem with a certain scene, however. It’s very early on in the 1st act where Ellis is involved in a violent act. Instead of us feeling the full impact, soothing music is played while the act occurs, diminishing its effect.
I have a HUGE problem with that because events like those happened, and while they happened, it was terrorizing for the victims. That scene should not have been lessened. This movie lets us know how important the local voting process is as well, so don’t let that go over your head.
I loved “The Best of Enemies” and I’m co-signing it to the fullest. If you’re truly a leader, if you truly want to make a difference, go see this. Don’t worry about what your friends will think. Get to know people outside your race. Really see what they go through in life. Don’t be afraid to speak out. To know each other is to love each other.