Customer Review

4 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the very worst films of the seventies, 13 Dec. 2007
This review is from: Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song [1971] [DVD] (DVD)
This is quite possibly the worst film ever made! The story behind the production and the intentions of Peebles may be inspiring, but the movie sure ain't. Sure, the backbone of it was a seriously slap in the face for the oppressive end of the white establishment which still resonates today - and rightly so. But the significant message this movie was conceived to communicate is utterly lost in an unbearably sloppy 90 minute montage of badly edited violence, endless footage of Peebles running and a few tasteless sex scenes.

I would like to start by pointing out that I have no moral objection to this film, unlike a lot of people who criticise. I love black cinema. I grew up on ropey blaxpoloitation movies and appreciate that cinematic brilliance was not on the top of the priority list for the people who made these movies. However, I cannot get past the fact that this movie is utterly incoherent from start to finish. The plot is almost non-existent, and only about a third of the screen time has anything to do with the 'story' anyway. There are random scenes that have no apparent meaning or significance whatsoever.

It looks dreadful, as if the cameraman was on speed and crack at the same time. Beyond this, the night sequences (which make up a large percentage of the film) are so dark that you literally cannot see a thing. Alas, that may be just as well, as it goes some small way to detracting from the mind-blowingly poor 'acting'. Sweetback himself just pouts and minces about, and he's the best 'character' in there. The sound is awful, often with two songs (the same two songs on a continuous loop) literally playing on top of each other.

I really wanted to like this movie, and I still acknowledge it as a milestone in American culture and social history. As a side note, it was not the first blaxploitation film as is popularly believed - Cotton Comes to Harlem was a year earlier. That said, technically Sweetback isn't a blaxploitation film at all as it was financed and produced entirely by a black man. Moot point really, but worth mentioning.

In case my point has been lost, let me recapitulate. Sweet Sweetback has to be one of the very worst films I have ever seen in my life. As a piece of cinema, there is absolutely nothing redeeming about it whatsoever.

Approach this as a documentation of the shift in (black) American social consciousness as it related to popular culture of the late '60s and early '70s. Otherwise avoid it altogether, you'll thank me later.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Jul 2011 15:55:55 BDT
"Otherwise avoid it altogether, you'll thank me later" ... hilarious!

How can we thank you enough, O guru?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2011 19:40:39 BDT
Watch it then. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2011 15:34:11 BDT
You didn't warn me, you b*stard!
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