Night Catches Us

In 1976 Philadelphia, a former Black Panther returns home from prison to find a new generation of youth even more aggressive and volatile than the old guard. The cops—predominantly white—are an increasingly invasive presence in his neighborhood, and the racially divided city seems to be eating itself alive. Yet Marcus (Anthony Mackie, of The Hurt Locker and Half Nelson) backs down from no one; he snarls his way through condemnations of both oppressors and misguided radicals. His perfect partner-in-disgust is Patricia (Kerry Washington, Mother and Child), a stern but giving woman also harboring old Black Panther ideals. Unfortunately, she also has a direct family connection to the new era—an angry young cousin who glorifies violence and comes into conflict with Marcus. Another problem: Some suspect Marcus' involvement in the death of her husband. And the FBI may be spying on these activists. Night Catches Us boasts an amazing soundtrack by the Roots that blends '70s soul hits with contemporary hip-hop. Similarly, the film incorporates old documentary footage of relevant history into its narrative. Director Tanya Hamilton's debut feature examines an ugly time in U.S. race relations and makes something explosive yet beautiful out of it. Note: screening is a benefit for the UW School of Drama Career Entry Endowment Fund. (NR) A.J. TIGNER

Wed., Nov. 17, 7 p.m., 2010

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