Spike Lee is about to get into trouble.
And so what else is new? The Academy Award-winning Morehouse filmmaker has made a career out of tapping into the rawest emotions and realities of Black life. He is always getting in trouble, but the “good trouble” that John Lewis used to talk about. And with his new movie American Skin, directed by and starring Nate Parker, he has totally gone there by creating a fictionalized articulation of oppressed rage.
American Skin shows the world the same oppressed rage that has been manifested in months of civil unrest throughout this year.
The movie is about a Black father, Lincoln “Linc” Jefferson (played by Parker), who witnesses his unarmed son being murdered by a white cop. However, despite being an eyewitness, his testimony is not enough to bring justice to the memory of his child.
Linc is no ordinary brother, with merely a college degree or a street culture diploma, he is a veteran who served in the United States Marines and has no problem putting his life in jeopardy for what he believes is right.
After not being able to rely on the compromised judicial system, that almost overwhelming rules on law enforcement’s side on cases that surround police-involved violence or killings, he decides to take justice into his own hands and kidnaps the officer that killed his son — holding others hostage and sparking further outrage.
The trailer suggests that the film will move like John Q meets Training Day, both movies that star Denzel Washington. The iconic Washington is not only a Spike Lee alum (starring in movies like Malcolm X, Mo Better Blues and He Got Game) but has been the mentor to Parker since the two of them starred in The Great Debaters. Last year, Spike Lee was the executive producer of another film for Netflix that centered around the police killing another unarmed Black teen named “See You Yesterday.” Ironically, that film also has a connection to Washington. As the lead was his daughter in the Tony Award-winning revival of August Wilson’s Fences.
Yup, American Skin is gonna get Spike in trouble alright, but it is the “good trouble” that makes cinema worth supporting.