Always Outnumbered (1998 TV Movie)
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This wasn't a movie about an angry black man who felt life owed him anything, it was just the opposite. It was about a man DOING something with his life after spending time in prison. Rather than being a drain on society, he worked for his money, and damn hard I must say. It didn't matter what he did to earn it, just as long as it was legal. He also was able to help a friend fill a void, another end his pain and help a child who needed guidance.
I know this movie was only fiction, but I wish our society were filled with people like Socrates.
This film is about Laurence Fishburne s attempt to find a place in the society that he left when he committed a terrible crime. There is a slight tinge of Black angst, but that isn't the main point. He could be any man, trying to find a new home and dealing with his past. It takes a long time before people come to accept Mr. Fortlow for what he is, a man in the true sense of the word.
He teaches us all a lesson in what it should be like to be a man. Be honest and true to yourself. Deal fairly with others. Do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay. Simple to say, hard to do when you are always outnumbered
"Always Outnumbered" is a powerful drama with the story of a man that is trying to build a new life after committing murder and staying imprisoned for a long period. He has no education, but has become wise with the lessons of life, and is a good man that helps friends and acquaintances. The story shows also his difficulty to find a job due to his age, color and background. However the plot is hopeful in the end. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Garantia de Vida" ("Warranty of Life")
I can only imagine this would have been the kind of rare, special once-in-a-life-time project all who participated must feel pretty good about.
The relationships with women are less convincing, or at least less compelling. I don't remember what Luvia (Cicely Tyson) has against Socrates. His relationship with Iula Brown (Natalie Cole) lacks chemistry (and screen time).
Wonderful cast. Wonderful Storytelling at its best. highly recommended .
This film should be shown in every school. It may not cure the troubles we see there but those it does reach will be changed.
Of course, the message is to become a more self-reliant man, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that, but the self-reliance aspect is almost taken to the point of absurdity, and to the point where he is likely to put himself right back in prison. This may be a reality for some people, but it is a reality that has no real, positive outcome. There are better ways to lift himself out of the circumstances he finds himself in, but pursuing solutions that are guaranteed to fail, and the bitterness that follows, pretty well ensures continued poverty.
There just wasn't much to uplift you in this movie. Not that there had to be, but I would have much rather seen a more realistic take on a man, who has seen more than his share of hard luck and hard times, struggling to make a better life for himself with whatever the world can offer, instead of dragging himself down when he feels someone has slighted him.
The friendship of the young boy was troubling, also. The message Socrates conveys to the kid is that force is what gains respect from your peers. This was a stupid, infantile approach for this at-risk kid. The fact that the kid picks up a gun should not have been surprising to anyone. This would naturally follow exactly the lesson he was trying to teach. The fact is, there were far too many young boys and men prowling those streets who had been taught the same lessons, and now were simply applying what they had learned out on those streets.
A very interesting character study of this man, and a fine performance by Laurence Fishburne, but the movie glorified self-destructive thought-processes, and cyclical poverty.
If you like watching a touching movies this is good choose for you!
The movie is poetically mounted with narration by the accomplished actor Bill Cobbs who is riveting as the old man dying of cancer. I hung on every word of his character, I followed every movement of his body. He also portrayed a strong man, somehow strengthened even more while facing pain and death.
The friendship merged by these two characters was so intimate, they touched the screen so gently. The lives that these two touched were made so much the richer, given so much more hope...for living.
All characters joined together to bring a most worthwhile story to fruition. A story of black people touching, caring, sharing, loving one another from deep within, with heart.
What's always outnumbered? Evil and despair. They are outnumbered here by this representation of generations of a people that reaches back to yesterday for wisdom, reaches out to today for experience and reaches forward to tomorrow for future life, hopes and dreams.
I, very simply, loved this film.
As a Melanated woman who is also a Filmmaker/Griot, finding a movie about other Melanated people finding total redemption, is few and far, far, far, far between. What this powerful, well casted cast has done, is transported me to a place of raw strength, and what it takes to 'make it' for real. It takes brutal honesty. It takes being able to accept the experiences we have had and be brave enough to live with the harsh consequences. BUT (I know I'm not suppose to use it at the opening of a sentence, however...) this movie let's you know, with such stark cruelty of this world, there is sweetness and love in a Black man and woman's heart that can take them through anything. Love brings hope. Hard work brings satisfaction and when the two marry, it's brings about The Creator's perfect plan. A knowing in your heart that you've worked to do the best that you can, and the subtle results, one can never take away from you.
So, for a 28 year old woman, who had just buried her husband, when this film was released in 1998, I thank The Almighty for allowing me to see this example of how the mercy of the Lord is always on all of us.
Thank you Walter Mosley, cast and crew, for this gift.
Peace continuously, Rosheena Beek
The quality wasn't the best, this was obviously a low budget film that never graced the silver screen. There are several forgettable moments in the movie, while others were done exceptionally well. This story isn't one based on great morals, most of the time it was about getting away or having to accept facts or use violence to make things better.
My favorite scenes were of Laurence Fishburne's character Socrates being a felon who was doing what it takes to make a living, and the harsh reality it is for people who have served time in prison. The parts where he recycled to make money, getting paid in change, dealing with places who refused to hire him, being haunted by his past kept me captivated in what will happen next. They were in a bad neighborhood and tried to make it better, having to swallow your pride at times but they still managed to see a tomorrow.
While there are several flaws with the teenager he decided to look after and basically mentor, it showed a side of Socrates as a man who was very flawed but still able to teach him to stand up for himself and make better decisions. The teenager could have been written much better but it made Socrates much more fragile at times and shed light on a softer side where he was out to help others. In the end, I didn't agree that he made the youngster run away from his problems, but it was a better decision and gave closure to his scenario.
For some reason the table being restore was a failed attempt at a metaphor to me, but it was obvious that they had it in the movie as an excuse to eliminate the other love interest and teenager. His love interest with the lady in the restaurant was done fairly well, for the most part, but it worked. Those were some of the better scenes in the movie because he wasn't a romantic guy, he was struggling to find work but had too much pride to start a relationship despite the woman making it clear she was interested in him regardless of his situation.
The crackhead part was great, there are some moments where Socrates almost looked like a superhero by disarming teenagers and being fearless in heated situations, but I really liked how he scared the crackhead away. That seems to be the thing I liked about his character, and the same goes with him refusing to buy a gun so his friend could shoot himself after the suffering of being terminally ill. Those parts felt authentic at times, there are moments where you often question if you would make the same decisions, even when some of the characters think the best decision would be to murder someone.
I don't know if I liked the ending, I say this based on how I can't think of another way it should have ended. I was disturbed originally but it seems like it was a story written by the narrator, which makes it more flawed, it gives me the impression that the script was rushed and re-written during production. Then again this was a movie never intended to have a theatrical release.
When all is said and done, I still think it had some amazing moments and Laurence Fishburne's performance was great. This movie wasn't afraid to address the harsh reality of a tough neighborhood and how the people who deal with poverty get treated. If they polished up the script more, spent more time on production and maybe replaced a few of the actors it would have been a huge hit.
Worthwhile movie; almost experimental in its creativity and effort to avoid cliche's. Doesn't really matter whether I think this movie is "Good" or not; it is there; you have time. Watch it; feel it; think it for yourself.