5.3/10
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54 user 18 critic

White Man's Burden (1995)

In an alternative America where African-Americans and White Americans have reversed cultural roles, a white factory worker kidnaps a black factory owner for dismissing him over perceived disdain.

Director:

Desmond Nakano

Writer:

Desmond Nakano
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Louis Pinnock
Harry Belafonte ... Thaddeus Thomas
Kelly Lynch ... Marsha Pinnock
Margaret Avery ... Megan Thomas
Tom Bower ... Stanley
Andrew Lawrence ... Donnie Pinnock
Bumper Robinson ... Martin
Tom Wright ... Lionel
Sheryl Lee Ralph ... Roberta
Judith Drake ... Dorothy
Robert Gossett ... John
Wesley Thompson ... Williams
Tom Nolan Tom Nolan ... Johansson
Willie C. Carpenter ... Marcus
Michael Beach ... Policeman #1 Outside Bar
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Storyline

The story takes place in alternative America where the blacks are members of social elite, and whites are inhabitants of inner city ghettos. Louis Pinnock is a struggling white worker in a chocolate factory, loving husband and father of two children. While delivering a package for black CEO Thaddeus Thomas, he is mistaken for a voyeur and, as a result, loses his job, gets beaten by black cops and his family gets evicted from their home. Desperate, Pinnock takes a deadly weapon and kidnaps Thomas, demanding justice, but the fight he will have to finish will cost him more than his job was ever worth. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing stands between these two men - except money and power. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Desmond Nakano, who is Japanese-American, created the film in part because of how we felt that to both American whites and blacks, he was "them". He also tapped into the disorienting feeling he felt when he visited Japan, saying that "for so long I had been different, it felt wrong to be the same." See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

[Last lines. Mrs. Pinnock has just refused to accept from Mr. Thomas the money he owed her husband]
Thaddeus Thomas: Why don't you keep it? I can give you some more if you think... if you think it's not enough.
Marsha Pinnock: How much is enough, Mr. Thomas? How much will ever be enough?
[turns, shuts the door and walks away]
See more »


Soundtracks

How Can I Live Without You
Written by David Lowery and Johnny Hickman
Performed by Cracker
Courtesy of Virgin Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
Brave attempt at inverting social prejudices, falls just short of hitting the mark.
8 April 2005 | by philblyghtonSee all my reviews

I expected good things from this film as I tend to admire directors and screenwriters who take a visually arresting premise and manipulate it in order to prompt self reflection in the audience (The Elephant Man for example). In addition, I am a big fan of Travolta and the role seemed an artistically sound one for him to undertake. Initially, the widespread symbolism is interesting and inventive, yet becomes overbearing relatively quickly, and to me it seemed that the director underestimated his audience's perception and continually rammed home his point with the subtlety of Dolph Lundgren.

The film ultimately left me frustrated because I thought the idea was a good one but the story simply wasn't multi-faceted enough to be engaging. Aside from the characters played by Travolta and Belafonte, most of the supporting cast was very underwritten, particularly the families of both men. However, the performances were very good, and I thought Belafonte conveyed the defeatism and inherent arrogance of his role particularly well.

Overall though, I thought this was pseudo-art: it masqueraded as a deep and meaningful examination of the social relevance of race, but ended up as a very simplistic story disguised by delusions of self worth.

5/10


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Details

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 December 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

White Man's Burden See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,743,251, 3 December 1995

Gross USA:

$3,734,870

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,734,870
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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