Danny Strong from an article (later a book) by journalist Wil Haygood -- these cliches are treated with such reverence that they seem to ossify before our very eyes. This is mainstream movie-making with a vengeance.
Vanessa Redgrave above, right -- and compare it to 12 Years a Slave. (I can't tell you how many times now I've heard people who've seen The Butler tell me that --oh, my -- they wouldn't think of sitting through 12 Years.
It's too violent!)
Mariah Carey, above, right) being taken off by "Massa" (Alex Pettyfer, above, left) to be raped, and then Massa killing his father right in front of the kid's eyes. Some delightful time in the cotton field.
McQueen's movie, and the erratic, horrible (but utterly specific and frighteningly believable) behavior of Michael Fassbender's Massa. The horror here stems from film-making and performance that point up how utterly subjugated were the blacks to any odd whim (at any given time) of their masters.
Jane Fonda (two photos up) does a fine and utterly ironic job, playing Nancy Reagan absolutely straight, while Liev Schreiber (above) does a smart Lyndon Johnson, and James Marsden (below, center), infinitely cuter (and shorter) than JFK, leads the charge as head of the Kennedy White House. All this is fun to watch in a silly-movie kind of way.
Forest Whitaker (below) takes the title role. Whitaker is always good, but his nearly-one-note performance grows a tad boring. He is meant to know his place and blend into the wallpaper, and he does this a mite too well. And when he finally shows us his sad, inner self, we know all too well what's coming.
The Weintstein Company and released to video via Anchor Bay, hits the streets this coming Tuesday, January 14, on Blu-ray and DVD, for purchase and/or rental.