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I've seen Smith in a bunch of movies usually in a small yet important role and on HBO's K Street. This rendering of his live play by Lee finally showcases his tremendous range. Smith is one of those enigmatic actors you see but can't quite place -- here he stands out magically: an enigma playing an enigma. Intense!
I liked the music, it was subtle, supportive and gave great context. Seeing the berets of the audience members reminds us the icon Newton has been. It seemed to be, to a certain extent, a memorial. The use of the archival footage was effective as was Smith's choreography.
As a writer, Smith incorporated many threads of Newton's life skillfully. One thing I didn't get from the film was a cardboard cutout of Newton in one way or the other. He was neither the oversimplified "angry black man" nor the "crazed junkie." Smith's rendering of the character had so much texture: he was vulnerable, strong, defiant, needy, angry, compulsive, confident, worldly and naive. Beautifully written, expertly done. Why Smith isn't playing more leads is a real mystery. I hope he does more work like this.
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