Friday, October 13, 2017

MARSHALL

Marshall movie poster
Working on cases for the NAACP, young lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) travels to Connecticut to help defend African-American chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) against sexual assault and attempted murder charges by his wealthy married white socialite employer Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson). Ordered not to speak in court by Judge Foster (James Cromwell), Marshall must rely on first-time trial lawyer Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad). They work against prejudice to uncover the truth.

This captivating real-life courtroom drama is
a winner thanks to Chadwick Boseman's multi-layered portrayal of the nation's first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Soon to be seen as Marvel's Black Panther, Boseman reveals Marshall to be cocky and self-assured, but manages to bring a spark of humanity to his character. Equally impressive is Josh Gad as the pressured, out-of-his-league lawyer who has to deal with antisemitism while desperately trying to help win the case. Both actors deserve awards nominations at year's end. Sterling K. Brown (TV's "This Is Us"), James Cromwell and Dan Stevens as prosecutor Loren Willis head a stellar supporting cast that elevates this film above the average "Law & Order" episode. Buried in the worthy performances is Kate Hudson, who fleshes out her status-obsessed socialite and subtly elicits empathy from the audience. Director Reginald Hudlin ("House Party") focuses, in a linear style, on the career-defining 1940s trial that was important to the NAACP and civil rights. There is at least one surprising twist along the way, but the actors keep the interest level high throughout the movie. Even a brief view of Marshall's home life with wife Buster, nicely played by Keesha Sharp, doesn't slow down the story. Credit should also go to the insightful screenplay by Connecticut lawyer Michael Koskoff and his son Jacob. "Marshall" does justice to the iconic figure's early career. (4 CAMS)


Rated PG-13 (mature thematic content, sexuality, violence and some strong language)
Running Time: 118 minutes