American Skin

American Skin
Running time:89 minutes
Director:Nate Parker
Release date:00 0000

Mulder's Review

Director, writer and actor Nate Parker makes American skin his second landmark film after the underrated The Birth of a Nation (2016), whose release suffered from a record questioning whether it had a good showing. After his first film on slavery and the non-respect of human rights of farmers of a period that the United States would like to erase from its history, this time again the director Nate Parker delivers a film with a punch and a sad actuality.

It is easy to understand after what happened on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States with the arrest by the police of an African-American named George Floyd and the fact that he died because of police officers who abused their dominant position, that such a film deserves a second chance and to be rediscovered. It is thus within the framework of the Santa Barbara Film Festival that we were able to discover this film unreleased in France and released in the United States last January 15.

Lincoln Jefferson (Nate Parker), a Navy veteran left the army to take care of his wife and son, even if it means finding a job below his real potential. He works as a janitor at his son's school and makes sure his son gets a good education and a better life than he had. Unfortunately, one day, during a routine police check, the young boy is killed by the police. Moreover, the officer who shot him is found innocent, which shows that the American police seem to be able to make bad decisions without being penalized. Lincoln is enraged and his life is forever destroyed. He decides to take justice into his own hands, to be the judge and the executioner, and organizes a hostage situation in the police station of the officer who killed his son.

Once again, director Nate Parker points out the shortcomings of current American society and shows that African-American minorities continue to suffer numerous assaults by certain police forces in certain states of the United States. As an actor Nate Parker is certainly excellent but as a director he tends to turn around the same themes as his previous film. The result is a successful film, but it is too easy to make racial minorities the victims of the American system.

This does not excuse the behavior of some law enforcement officers and as we have seen recently, the American justice system knows how to decide efficiently even if it means judging guilty some law enforcement officers who abused their position and cost the death of innocent people. Our current society shows that it is indeed time that certain people who believe themselves to be above the law answer to the law for their actions and this film could have been an important one if the scenario had not been too easy and had been conceived with more thought.

American Skin
Written and directed by Nate Parker
Produced by Mark Burg, Tarak Ben Ammar, Lukas Behnken, Zak Tanjeloff
Starring Nate Parker, Omari Hardwick, Theo Rossi, Shane Paul McGhie, Milauna Jackson, Beau Knapp
Music by Henry Jackman
Cinematography : Kay Madsen
Edited by Billy Weber
Production companies : TM Films, Tiny Giant Entertainment
Distributed by Vertical Entertainment
Release date : September 1, 2019 (Venice), January 15, 2021 (United States)
Running time : 89 minutes

Seen on April 02, 2021 (SBIFF)

Mulder's Mark: