Gospel Hill is about haunted men, the former sheriff of the southern town dealing with past sins, and the former civil rights worker withdrawn since the martyrdom of his father thirty years before. Their final confrontation comes when a corporation descends on the town, echoing a struggle thirty years old. Written by
Simon Baker was hired for the role of Carl Herrod, but had to bow out at the last minute, due to scheduling conflicts. His name was even advertised on pre-production billboards at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. The part went to Adam Baldwin, eventually. See more »
Samuel L. Jackson's character is called Paul Malcolm throughout the movie but the end credits list him as Peter Malcolm. See more »
When I noticed an unknown drama, deep within the TV listings of Sky Movies, Gospel Hill cropped up - further investigation showed a sterling array of well known actors: Danny Glover, Angela Bassett, Samuel L Jackson and Julia Styles. What film lover would NOT want to check this one out?
Radio Times gave it a low rating and almost no review, IMDb's score barely scraped above 5/10. What was wrong with this movie?
On viewing, it is a quiet, solid and undramatic movie. Many could describe it as boring; it runs more akin to a decent, rather worthy TV movie, touching on issues involving a small town community in the Deep South. The issues are quietly relevant and handled suitably. The acting, by all concerned is sterling but none excel and none take their roles above those of ordinary people, which is probably a good thing but that could be why it might be seen as lacklustre and underwhelming. I thought that Julia Styles, who I've not always enjoyed, as the young schoolteacher particularly poignant and believable.
Apparently, it was shot in just 19 days on a shoestring budget, by debut director Giancarlo Esposito. The laid-back bluesy soundtrack was both fitting and enjoyable.
I agree with the other reviewer about the ending. It may have been a movie that had complex topics that couldn't be resolved, but this was just shut-off. Like a novel that had its last chapter missing. This is probably why I'm only awarding 6/10 instead 7/10.
Why it seems to be only available as a region 1, effectively barring UK & European buyers is a puzzle. It certainly won't be in anyone's top 10, or necessarily remembered even but its cast list and the fact that it's OK, bordering on good, makes it even more curious. Having said that, I wouldn't be one who'd buy the DVD, most probably.
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