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about haunted men, the former Sheriff of the southern town dealing with past sins, and the former civil rights worker withdrawn since the martyrdom of his father thirty years before.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 »
Big cast, good premise
For such a low-budget, college-production-looking film with a terribly weak script and untied ends, I'm surprised such big names were recruited to act in it. Perhaps everyone was friends with Giancarlo Esposito and wanted to help him out during his film debut. As noble as that gesture was, it didn't really make it any better.
An interesting premise shows Julia Stiles moving to a small Southern town to start a job as an elementary school teacher. There's a struggle going on between a large corporation trying to buy up land in favor of building a golf course. Folks in town don't want to give up their homes and land that have been in their families for generations, but the local doctor (also Giancarlo Esposito) wants to jump on the opportunity to grease his own pockets. Against him is Angela Bassett, another schoolteacher. Her husband is Danny Glover, one of the most respected men in town because of his legacy; his father was a prominent Civil Rights figure (shown in flashbacks by Samuel L. Jackson) and was murdered by an unknown assailant in the late '60s. The sheriff at the time (Tom Bower) never solved the murder, and it's puzzled everyone for decades.
The plot sounds intriguing, so I don't blame you for wanting to rent it. Danny Glover is such a presence, and when he's on the screen, you can't take your eyes off him. But the rest of the movie, when he's not tugging on your heartstrings, just isn't very good. Predictable dialogue, slow pacing, entire scenes that feel ad lib, but with one good message: no matter how good her intentions, Julia can never understand what it's like to live Danny's life.
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