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SXSW Watch: ‘American Violet’ Trailer

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After premiering at Telluride and showing as part of the Lone Star States section of the upcoming SXSW, Tim Disney’s topical drama American Violet hits theaters April 17th. Set during the buildup to the 2000 election, the film chronicles a violent raid of a low income housing project in Texas that results in the arrest of an innocent single mother of four for dealing drugs. Rather than acquiesce to the charges and plead guilty she fights them, risking everything in the process.

Starring newcomer Nicole Beharie as the mother, the film also features an impressive ensemble that includes Tim Blake Nelson, Will Patton, Alfre Woodard, Charles Dutton and Xzibit. It looks like it adheres pretty closely to the inspirational, David vs. Goliath template that generally features defiant brooding, impassioned speeches against injustice, heroic well-dressed outsiders and a carefully considered depiction of the milieu.

Still, there’s a good reason so many films have told stories of governmental corruption visited on ordinary citizens. If done correctly few dramatic conceits can be more compelling, and American Violet looks as if it has its share of powerful moments. Plus, any movie that gives Nelson and Dutton big, central monologues is automatically fine by me.

Robert Levin has written dozens (if not hundreds) of reviews for Film School Rejects since his first piece in 2009. He is the film critic for amNewYork, one of the most widely circulated daily newspapers in New York City and the United States, and the paper's website amNY.com. He's a Brooklyn resident who tries very hard not to be a cliche.

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