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Poor Boy's Game
cast: Rossif Sutherland, Danny Glover, Felix Alexander, Greg Bryk, and Tonya Lee Williams

director: Clement Vigo

101 minutes (15) 2007
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Ricochet DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Poor Boy's Game explores those seemingly age-old racial tensions that plague suburban North America. Halifax, a seemingly quiet town Nova Scotia, is the setting for this dark yet enlightening story of hate and how it can be overcome. Undoubtedly the movie's biggest name is Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon series, etc) who plays George, the father of Charles, a teenager left disabled for life following a brutal and racially motivated attack by Donnie Rose. Rose is played by Rossif Sutherland, son of Donald and half brother of Kiefer, in the younger Sutherland sibling there is a potential star in the making. As with much of the movie's players there is a bubbling of talent here that ride alongside the understated performances of Glover, and Tonya Lee Williams, to give us a superbly well presented offering.

In simple terms: Rose is released from prison after nine years for his crime on Charles. The world in which he re-enters is one being destroyed by racial tensions of which he is one of the prime architects in creating. The black community in this case have elephantine memories and want revenge for Rose's attack from nine years ago. Meantime, George stalks Rose to intent on inflicting a most brutal and life-ending revenge of his own.

However, the greater insight into Rose's life George gets the more he sees a community on the edge and racial tension on both sides of the black and white divide. They both share a common want to eradicate the mistakes of the past and are strikingly similar in many ways. The best friend of Rose's victim, Ossie Paris (Felix Alexander) challenges Rose to a boxing match in order to exact revenge, Paris being a supreme boxer and Rose a relative novice means that a beating for Rose is inevitable. When George agrees to train Rose, despite what he did to his son, this causes them to become outcasts on both sides of the divide.

Clement Virgo does a magnificent job with Poor Boy's Game and quite how it did not receive wider theatrical release is beyond me. The poignant chat between George and Rose at the end is superbly well scripted and executed. The racial tension throughout and up-to this moment is put into perspective and serves to remind us that there is inexplicable agitation between peoples based on the most arbitrary of reasons. Any distinguishing feature or differentiation from the perceived norm can become an excuse for intolerance, which is absolutely unacceptable.

The message from Poor Boy's Game is quite simple; fighting hate with hate only amplifies the hate. Fighting hate with forgiveness gives us all a chance.
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