Monday, November 2, 2009
Movie Review- American Violet with Alfre Woodward and Charles Dutton
This is a true story. It happens in every major city across America. The War on Drugs creates such enormous profits for the Government Agencies tasked with upholding the drug laws that Justice is often left far behind.
A single working Mom, who lives in the Projects, is caught up in a drug sweep. She is completely innocent. Represented by a Public Defender she tries to fight the charges. If convicted at trial she faces 16-25 years behind bars for a crime she did not commit. So she remains in jail, unable to post a $70,000 bond. She is offered a plea bargain, prison time suspended, but she has to fight the charges as even accepting the plea bargain will make her a Felon. This would result in her losing her Housing Subsidy, Food Stamps, Medical Care and leave her and her children homeless.
Between the Prosecutor and the Public Defender this woman is just a statistic. If she pleads guilty the State makes their quota and gets more Federal money to fight the War On Drugs. If she beats the charges the prosecutor looks bad. (Hence the empty offer of the plea bargain.) Money and Politics are at stake here- and when that happens Justice is denied.
Strong performances by all. Alfre Woodward as the Mother of the accused and also Charles Dutton as the Preacher are exceptional. With strong direction the movie makes it's point about Justice in America today.