Friday, June 29, 2012

What Depression Looks Like: A Review Of Something Is Killing Tate

This is another post that was previously written for one of the blogs I used to have that I recently shut down. Y'all wasn't checking for me over there barely check for me HERE. But anyway, this is a movie I really loved, and I watch it over and over when I'm feeling down. It's just a reminder, I guess, that things could always be worse. I mean, not that my depression is any less important than his, but you know... things could always be worse.

Netflix is a beautiful thing, because it allows me to view a plethora of films from the comfort of my beautifully smooshy sofa. Which is exactly where I sat as I watched Something Is Killing Tate- a tale of internal demons, depression and learning to love.

Tate (Jocko Sims of Dreamgirls and the "Crash" TV show) is hella depressed; you know this in the first five minutes of the movie because he downs half a bottle of aspirin and washes it down with drain cleaner. Dude is no joke about being dead, but as his story unfolds you can easily see why.

After his dance with the devil, Tate's friends, fiance and family (Luz Beato, Myron Davis, Vashon Caprice; Aliza Pearl; and Robin Dionne Smith and Kevin Nichols, respectively) attempt to get at the core of what's bothering him, but all Tate wants to do is sit in the dark and smoke cigarettes. And I can hardly blame him.

For an indie flick with virtually unknown actors, Something Is Killing Tate is very well done: the acting, dialogue and direction (by writer/director Leon Lozano) leave one wondering why this never made it to big screens around the country. Then I remembered: nothing blew up and there's only about 5 seconds of nudity... there just isn't a market for smart, African-American films heavy on intellectually alluring content. Maybe if Tate's great-aunt was Madea... but I digress...

The themes covered in this movie- child abuse, fidelity, self-worth- are handled in a realistic fashion. While the characters could have been more fleshed out their dialogue was believable even in the most contrived of situations. Sims shines in his role as Tate with an exceptional ability to depict the true face of depression on the screen.

Heart Wrenching Moment #1:
Young Tate being forced to eat food from the trash at the hands of his evil stepfather.

Heart Wrenching Moment #2:
Grown Tate...and a gun... I won't say more so as not to spoil the film for you.

Heart Wrenching Moment #3:
Young Tate finding his sister... well, I don't want to ruin that for you, either.

Very rarely do I find a movie like this, one that I can watch over and over and never tire of it, but Something Is Killing Tate is one of them. My only complaint: the cookie-cutter resolution towards the end. I could've done without that for sure. Still- two Jaded Thumbs Up!

Get you some!

*smooches...not recommending this for those easily brought to tears*
Something is Killing Tate (2008). 78 min. Written and Directed by Leon Lozano. Starring Jocko Sims, Aliza Pearl, Luz Beato and Robin Dionne Smith.