Talk To Me (2007)

(In theaters, July 2007) This fictional biography of a fast-talking radio personality can’t completely escape the usual problems and issues of multi-decade narratives “adapted from a true story”, but it’s good enough not to matter much. Don Cheadle is at his usual excellent self as Petey Green, a black ex-convict who manages to get a talk show in the Washington DC area. But it’s Chiwetel Ejiofor who continues his string of exceptional roles as ambitious manager Dewey Hughes: he’s got a terrific couple of scenes (including a wonderful speech around a pool table) and gradually emerges as the true protagonist of the story. The rest of the cast is just as good, though Taraji P. Henson earns particular attention as the third essential dramatic player. The historical re-creation is believable, and the terrific soundtrack does much to sustain the atmosphere. While the third act is problematic in the way that most docu-fiction third acts usually are (with the requisite drugs subplot and the lull in-between early success and redemptive conclusion), Talk To Me eventually pulls itself together to deliver a fitting epitaph to Green. Watch it for the actors, for the look at a piece of American black history and for the laughs.

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