This is the third film I have watched in "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2020-21", "A 33 week long challenge where the goal each week is to watch a previously unseen feature length film from a specified category." This is the 6th annual challenge, and my second time participating (last year can be found at "My Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-20"). Week 3 is called "Classic Performers: Sidney Poitier Week":
Famously known as the first black actor to win the Oscar for Best Actor, Sidney Poitier's career is filled with rich tapestries of social disparities and intense moments. Though his early roles in racially charged films left him a tad pigeon holed in terms of characters, he always put his all into his roles, with a lot of them becoming nothing less than iconic. There are plenty of picks within his filmography for all of us to enjoy, so let's take a look back at one of the greatest to ever play the game of cinema.
This week's challenge is to watch a previously unseen film starring Sidney Poitier.
My original choice here was The Mark of the Hawk, but the print on Amazon was crap, so I switched to Brother John. Besides Poitier, the cast included the formerly-blacklisted Will Geer, and future Oscar-nominee Paul Winfield. Quincy Jones, who already had two Grammys to his name, did the music.
I mention all these details in the name of procrastination, because Brother John is hard to talk about. It depends on a secret, and while some people were spoiled in advance and said it didn't affect their enjoyment, I wasn't spoiled, and the big secret isn't revealed until the end (if it's revealed at all ... this is a pretty vague movie). Waiting an hour-and-a-half for a Big Secret in a movie that is a bit mundane isn't the best way to spend your afternoon or evening. Poitier is fine, but subdued. There is an attempt to shoehorn social consciousness into the film, but it all feels artificial.
Here's an example of the hard-hitting, exciting character development in Brother John: