I talked about this movie on Arise TV, a channel worth noting because of its racial and sexual diversity in the discussion of fine arts.
As Gimme Shelter opens, we see that the bitter Apple is in a facility and wants to leave. We're not sure if it's a rehab facility or what. But when she calls for a cab and wants out, there's trouble. She's slapped, punched, kicked and screamed at by a dragon of an older woman. Were they rival junkies? We don't know. The fuzzy script needed to be sharper. We need to know what the relationships and backstories were. Apple got a serious beat-down leaving that New Jersey facility and her female attacker followed her to the cab.
We later learn that the woman is her mother.
Apple doesn't have money for a meal so the broke teen eats food she finds in dumpsters.
About the racial images, Apple and her mother look Latina. The cabdriver who physically yanks the girl out of his cab had a hairy, swarthy look. The aggressive dude in the SUV who pursues Apple for sexual purposes is a burly black man. Most of the under-educated unwed mothers in the shelter are black and Latina. The religious figure who runs the shelter -- the savior, if you will -- is a white woman. A white woman who, as we're shown, is seen in framed photographs with...Mother Teresa and President Ronald Reagan. In the literature of film, that reads as "Christian. Conservative."
The privileged, educated people who live in a New Jersey house the size of a hotel are white people. They're the Wall Street executive father (played nicely by Brendan Fraser), his slim wife and their two little children.
Have you ever noticed how frequently American movies imply that blacks, Latinos and Asians do not work on Wall Street? The New Jersey rich guy has a connection to poor Apple.
You'd never know she'd once eaten dumpster sandwiches.
The high point of this movie was the raw, blistering performance by Rosario Dawson as Apple's abusive mother. Wow. What a performance and what a character transformation. Do not be surprised to hear that, one day, Rosario Dawson has received an Oscar nomination. She is one excellent actress.
I liked the performances by Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson and Brendan Fraser. I did not like the way racial images in this modern indie movie reminded me of ethnic stereotypes from the old Hollywood days.
I talked about Gimme Shelter and I, Frankenstein with Mike Sargent. My buddy, Mike, is the host of a groundbreaking weekend show on Arise TV called On Screen. Why is it groundbreaking? This is a half-hour film review/interview and entertainment news program hosted by a black man who reviews movies. We have not seen this on network television. We still don't. On Screen airs online here in America. There's not a television distributor for the program yet. It airs on TV overseas in London. Also, Mike has guest male and female film critics of color on his show. Black female and Latina film critics have been totally absent from the weekly network and syndicated film review scene. On Screen tapes in New York City. TV journalists should be writing about this new show. We've never seen a weekly program like this on CBS, NBC, ABC or PBS affiliates.
Here's the On Screen episode with me as a guest film reviewer. I had a great time.
American television needs to embrace and make a place for racially groundbreaking and upscale product such as this. TV columnists should pay attention to Arise.TV. It's giving us much-needed diversity in the area of film talk and entertainment news.