Local setting helps make 'Marshall' an electrifying courtroom drama - The Buffalo News

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Local setting helps make 'Marshall' an electrifying courtroom drama

Few movies have been more highly anticipated by Buffalonians than Reginald Hudlin’s "Marshall," which was filmed in our city. For the most part, the film lives up to the hype.

Starring Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson and Sterling K. Brown, "Marshall" follows the true story of Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first African-American Supreme Court justice, and one of his first cases, in which a white woman accuses a black man of rape.

The movie is ultimately an important reminder of the limits enforced by racism decades ago and its subsequent inevitability for victims, but it focuses on a historic court case to glimpse into the future, a time with increasing levels of awareness and justice for people of color in America.

Of course, the incredible shots of a nighttime conversation with only Buffalo City Hall shining behind the actors and captivating scenes in Buffalo Central Terminal give area resident even more of a reason to head to The North Park Theatre and catch "Marshall."

Boseman, of the upcoming "Black Panther," delivers an outstanding performance as Marshall, which is unsurprising due to his past biopic roles as Jackie Robinson in "42" and James Brown in "Get on Up."

However, controversy surrounding possible colorism behind Boseman’s casting has divided audiences.

In reality, Marshall was fairly light-skinned, so the casting of a darker-skinned actor at first caused an uproar. Boseman responded to the comments on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," saying that once he read the script, he "realized that that really wasn’t important." He said a biopic is "a painting," in which certain aspects are emphasized and other parts don’t need to be for that particular story’s focus.

Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown, of "This Is Us" fame, truly stands out in his role as Joseph Spell, the chauffeur accused of the rape and attempted murder of Eleanor Strubing, a wealthy white woman. Brown’s acting creates a perfect enigma, so that it is almost a struggle to determine whether to trust his claim of innocence or not.

Perfectly scattered jokes and remarks added to the charm of "Marshall," with several sharp quips that make the audience erupt into applause.

"Marshall" ultimately captures a bittersweet piece of history in a manner that prevents the film from becoming a boring history lesson. Rather, it is an enthralling courtroom drama with unpredictable twists.

If neither drama nor comedy is your cup of tea, or this movie doesn’t seem to be worth a trip to the theater, at least know that the electricity ineluctably energizing the theater as the credits roll and thanks to Buffalo are plastered on the screen is unparalleled and will instill the utmost Buffalo pride in any Buffalonian.

Maura Ende is a junior at Nardin Academy.

 

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