“Poor Boy’s Game”
Looking at Tribalism
Donnie Rose (Rossif Sutherland) was sent to prison because a beat a young African-American guy up and left him disabled for the rest of his life. After spending nine years behind bars, he has been released and he is a different man but he has no place to go except for the neighborhood where he was raised. On the other side of town the African-American community wants revenge and have called for a fight between Ossie Paris (Flex Alexander) and Donnie, Donnie’s family and friends insist that he participate. Donnie’s victim’s father, George Carvery (Danny Glover), has waited for nine years to get revenge. However when the two meet, they both realize that they want to forget the past. The rest of the community feels very differently and racism against Donnie begins to hit the boiling point. George and Donnie come together and force an alliance that causes them to be cast out by both sides as the others are bent on revenge. Donnie and George realize that their future will only be decided by what happens in the boxing ring.
This movie is an expose of the nature of tribalism and how people are unable to forget the past and get on with their lives. However, the premise of the film loses itself in a plot that has too many sub issues. The acting is excellent throughout but when there is so much going on that it is hard to follow, the film suffers. Looking at confusion and lack of borders on moral and psychological grounds, the movie succeeds. One issue that is handled tenderly is showing that the homosexual behavior in jail is contrasted with the straight behavior outside. Also, the relationship between black and white communities is handled well.
Some of the scenes will grip you and hold you. The way the black and white communities are shown, for example, lets us know that racism is far from dead. It is also touching to watch how Donnie was reformed and how he did not look back to the past. Rather, he rose above his past to attain redemption.