An act of civil disobedience turns into a standoff with police when homeless people in Cincinnati take over the public library to seek shelter from the bitter cold.An act of civil disobedience turns into a standoff with police when homeless people in Cincinnati take over the public library to seek shelter from the bitter cold.An act of civil disobedience turns into a standoff with police when homeless people in Cincinnati take over the public library to seek shelter from the bitter cold.
Couple of comments: this is the latest labor of love from director/producer/writer/actor Emilio Estevez (who plays the Stuart role). Here he find a social and political sensitive topic: what to do with the many homeless in this country's big cities. Estevez has assembles an all-star ensemble cast: Alec Baldwin is a Cincinnati Police Department detective and crisis negotiator; Christian Slater is the Prosecutor with ambitions for higher office; Micheal K. Williams is the 'front person' of the homeless who want to "Occupy" the Main Library; Taylor Schilling is the building manager Stuart's apartment building (and love interest). The cast is an impressive list. And for the first hour or so, the movie clips along nicely. Alas in the second hour, the movie gets bogged down in the negotiations between CPD and the homeless, and Estevez moves about with the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. A darn shame. Not to mention that the movie is far too long, and could easily have been trimmed by 15-20 min. (if not more) without losing any of its essence and message. Kudos to the photography, which is excellent. And if you are amazed how big the Main Library building seems to be, you are right! It is a maze, and the film conveys that nicely. Did you know that the Cincinnati/Hamilton County library system is by circulation the second largest in the entire country (only New York City's is busier, with of course a much larger population).
"The Public" premiered last Fall at the Toronto International Film Festival, and opened in a limited release last weekend. Because the movie was filmed entirely here in Cincinnati (where I live), in early 2017, it received a nice boost from the art-house theater where it is showing, with a release on the largest screen it has. The Thursday early evening screening where I saw this at was, not surprisingly for a Thursday, not well attended (7 people, including myself). I really, really wanted to like this movie more, and I certainly do not mind having seen it. But the weak script, in particular the movie's second half, leave me no choice but to give it a mixed rating. Of course I encourage you to check it out, be it at the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
- Apr 11, 2019