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White Man's Burden (1995)

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 white worker in a chocolate ... See full summary »

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 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 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 gun and kidnaps Thomas, demanding justice. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Reality just changed sides. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 December 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

White Man See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,760,515
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Travolta had filming stopped briefly so that Kelly Lynch could attend the funeral of her friend, Michael O'Donoghue. 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

We Got It Goin On
Written by Cassandra Lucas, Charisse Rose & Oji Pierce
Performed by Changing Faces
Courtesy of Spoiled Rotten Entertainment / Big Beat Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Oh dear...Woefully executed morale lesson alert
20 February 2002 | by Aidan McGuinnessSee all my reviews

"White Man's Burden" has a (reasonably) neat premise: society is reversed so the black man is in the white man's current place. The idea is this allows us to tackle our prejudices and preconceived notions about society. Does it work? No, it's too busy being laughable or boring.

From the opening I felt chills. Was this chocolate factory scene, brown being poured on top of white, some horribly clumsy use of imagery? I feared so. The film looked set to be heavy-handed, and it was. The movie's flaw is that it over-does it's premise - nearly all the white people are poor and rundown, while all the black people come across as elitist snobs. The underlying message of course being that in "our reality" the situation is reversed and this gives a horribly, simplistic, and downright irritating attitude towards race. It's completely simplistic and infuriating - not because you're angered that it's right but because it's done so poorly and with a preachiness that grates.

It might all be OK if there was a story to support it. There isn't. Reeking of TV movie-of-the-week, John Travolta is playing a desperate factory-worker who kidnaps his ex-boss in a bid to get the money he lost from being fired unfairly. *Yawn*. There's no suspense and no tension in their scenes. There's the boring, trite situation where the boss, played by Harry Belafonte, starts to understand Travolta's cause. Far too obvious in coming. There's even the hilariously poor moment when Belafonte's son takes home a white girl to a look of distaste from his mother - bang that message-hammer on our heads Mr Nakano (the script writer). I'm reminded of a moment from "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood" when the character is similarly preachy and the postman turns to the screen and says "Message!" pointing out how morale messages are weakly delivered. In fact the only decent bit is about two minutes from the end, and even that's ruined by the (incredibly) obvious follow-up final minute. *Yawn*.

Travolta does nothing for this picture. This film was released after his sudden re-emerge in "Pulp Fiction", but I imagine he made it while still wandering around the Turkey Farm. His performance is as forgettable, as is usual with him and Belafonte is just OK.

Nothing can make me recommend this piece. If you want a movie about race issues why not watch the infinitely superior "American History X". This movie has a dreadful plot, weak acting, and destroys a promising premise by being both heavy-handed and insultingly simplistic. Avoid. 2/10.


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