Wednesday, April 8, 2015

100 Words On... To Sleep With Anger

Like Charles Burnett’s masterwork, Killer of Sheep, this tale of a tight-knit but embattled African-American family in the late 80s is a finely detailed work of poetic realism, but this film is shot through with a strain of surrealism as well. The hard-won bourgeois stability of Gideon’s (Paul Butler) and Suzie’s (Mary Alice) tidy home is threatened when their old friend Harry (a mesmerizing Danny Glover) comes to stay. A devil who can see into your soul and homes in on the dark parts, Harry is a semi-mythical figure who turns out to be the poison that acts as a purge, bringing together the family he almost blows up. The pace sometimes drags, but there are layers of African-American history and heartbreak in this near classic of generational conflict and the West African sense of community that proved strong enough to survive even slavery.

Written for The L Magazine

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