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“Brian Banks” A Heart-Stopping True Story




Review by John Delia

An absolute winner, the movie Brian Banks gives what most other films of its kind fails to do. The movie is an honest look at an issue that has been a concern for many years, and delivers it with emotion, open mindedness and without disparages. Beyond the fact that it’s a call to task to not rush to judgement, the film has heart, race-blindness and due diligence to never give up. It’s a must see inspirational movie that pushes the envelope.

Please do not look up Brian Banks on the web to find out the outcome of this film. It works better if you are not aware of his fate. If you would like to know more about the true story before going to watch it, click on the trailer in this article.

Aldis Hodge stars as Brian Banks in Tom Shadyac’s BRIAN BANKS, a Bleecker Street release.
Credit: Katherine Bomboy / Bleecker Street

There’s a big future for the 16-year-old football linebacker Brian Banks (played by Aldis Hodge) who plays for Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California. He’s been touted by many sports writers as a shoe-in for a good college and then pro football. He’s also a teenager with a determination to not stray off course.

But, as most all boys his age, the fame makes him heady and the girls are buzzing around him. One such teen catches Banks eye and it leads to her bringing charges of kidnapping and rape. It’s the beginning of a nightmare that will put Banks to the task of proving he was falsely accused and to try and free himself from the stigma following an 8-year prison term.

Aldis Hodge (left) as Brian Banks and Greg Kinnear (right) as Justin Brooks in Tom Shadyac’s BRIAN BANKS, a Bleecker Street release.
Credit: Katherine Bomboy / Bleecker Street

The film takes you on this journey through the heart and mind of Banks as he tries to get the California Innocence Project to take his case to clear his name. Lead by Justin Brooks (Greg Kinnear) the project tries to free wrongly convicted people. But it’s an uphill climb and one that has little hope.

Director Tom Shadyac (Patch Adams) knows how to show heart and does it here with a great script by Doug Atchison (Akeelah and the Bee). From the opening scene to the finale it’s “glued to your seat” emotional and compelling in this dramatic mindblower. Guiding his cast, Shadyac spoon feeds his audience with Bank’s courage and determination to free himself from an unjust system that has taken his future away. And Atchison’s script touches all the bases to make the film worthy of award.

Aldis Hodge stars as Brian Banks in Tom Shadyac’s BRIAN BANKS, a Bleecker Street release.
Credit: Katherine Bomboy / Bleecker Street

In the difficult role of Brian Banks actor Aldis Hodge shows his star quality with a performance that outshines most of this year’s already crowded dramas. His character represents all of those who have felt injustice and suffered the consequences. And Hodge takes the role and makes it his own bringing an outstanding display of the problems of the decision process for the accused and how much it needs fixing. Hodge will be a tough act to follow and I hope the Oscar voters also see I that way.

Brian Banks has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic content and related images, and for language. Stay for the film credits to see photos and video of the real Brian Banks.

FINAL ANALYSIS: It’s a film that should not be missed. (5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Aldis Hodge, Melanie Liburd, Xosha Roquemore, Tiffany Dupont,
Directed by: Tom Shadyac
Written by: Doug Atchison
Genre: Biography, Drama, Sport
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic content and related images, and for language
Running Time: 1 hr. 39 min.
Opening Date: August 9, 2019
Distributed by: Bleecker Street Media
Released in: Color, Standard

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