REVIEW: Marshall

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Review by Dustin Heller

Marshall is the new biographical courtroom drama about Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.  The film is directed by one half of the Hudlin Brothers, Reginald Hudlin.  Reginald is a major player in Hollywood; he was once the president of entertainment for BET and also worked as a producer on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.   The film stars Chadwick Boseman as Marshall with Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown and James Cromwell in supporting roles.  Marshall is rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexuality, violence and some strong language.

A black man accused of rape and attempted murder by a white socialite in Connecticut is imprisoned and awaiting trial.  The NAACP jumps into action and sends their top young lawyer, Thurgood Marshall, to take the case.  In order to try the case, Marshall must be admitted by the judge to partner with a local attorney.  The local attorney in question is Sam Friedman, who only has experience trying insurance cases.  Friedman is in for the ride of his life as the judge rules that Marshall can be a part of the defense, but he is not allowed to speak in court.

As more questions are brought to the surface, the lines between truth and lies become blurred and the fate of this man hangs in the balance.  Even though this case could be a huge advancement in national civil rights, a man’s life still matters.

Marshall isn’t your typical biopic about the impressive life of the first African-American Supreme Court Justice; it is an extremely entertaining courtroom drama that I personally didn’t see coming.  The screenplay is very smart and engaging, and almost plays as a whodunit.  The flashback scenes are done brilliantly and really keep you guessing as to what is real or not.  We haven’t had a great legal drama like this in quite some time.

Another thing worth noting is the relevancy of the film.  Thurgood Marshall was a pioneer for civil rights and one of the most impressive men in American history.  His story needed to be told, and now is the perfect time to tell it.

Chadwick Boseman seems to be the go-to guy for portraying African-American legends.  He played Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get on Up, and now Thurgood Marshall in Marshallall proving that he has some serious range as an actor.  Not to be outdone, Josh Gad steps out of his comedic zone and gives one of the best performances of his career.  He plays the lovable sap all too well, but he mixes in an endearing confidence in the character that sealed the deal.

People need to see this movie not just for the historical aspect of this great man, but because it is a fun time at the movies.  Trust me, you will be entertained.

Grade:  A-

Marshall opens in theaters on Friday, October 13