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  Publicity Stills of
"Talk To Me"
(Courtesy of Cathay-Keris Films)

Genre: Drama
Director: Kasi Lemmons
Cast: Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Mike Epps, Vondie Curtis Hall, Martin Sheen
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene & Coarse Language)
Official Website: www.focusfeatures.com/talktome

Opening Day: 30 October 2008


The true life story of Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Jr. In the mid-to-late 1960s, in Washington D.C., vibrant soul music and exploding social consciousness were combining to unique and powerful effect. It was the place and time for Petey to fully express himself - sometimes to outrageous effect - and "tell it like it is." With the support of his irrepressible and tempestuous girlfriend Vernell, the newly minted ex-con talks his way into an on-air radio gig where he becomes an iconic radio personality, surpassing even the established popularity of his fellow disc jockeys. Petey was determined to make not just himself but his community heard during an exciting and turbulent period in American history.

Movie Review:

Recent development has led to the revelation that Don Cheadle will be replacing Terence Howard as James Rhodes in Iron Man 2. That be the case, Cheadle should finally get the treatment he deserves here in Singapore. With the exception of Hotel Rwanda and the upcoming Traitor, most of his movies that were released here were ensemble pictures. Reign over Me with Adam Sandler went straight-to-DVD and in the case of this review, Talk to Me arrives a year late.

In Talk to Me, Cheadle showcases his chameleon-like abilities once again, slipping effortlessly into the role of Petey Greene, the ex-convict, sorry, miscreant turned Washington’s iconic radio deejay. Leaving a blazing trail of fire, Cheadle tears up the scenes, filling it with Petey Greene moments, never once doubting the honesty of his performance. This is wonderfully complemented by his two co-actors, Chiwetel Ejiofor, who himself does a great job as producer Dewey Hughes and Taraji P. Henson as Greenee’s ever-loyal girlfriend.

The movie is inspired by the real life story of Petey Greene, a convict who runs the “radio station” in his prison. A chance encounter with Dewey Hughes causes the latter to unintentionally promising Greene a job at his radio station upon his release. In true Petey Greene fashion, he is released from prison earlier than expected and bugs Hughes for his shot to rule the airwaves. The journey from then can only be a remarkable one.

The highlight of this movie has to be the chemistry between the two male actors. It is amazing to observe the transformation both of them go through. Cheadle has to play Greene as the cocky, loudmouth and carefree deejay who constantly pushes Hughes’ buttons but later transforms into the still cocky but brooding Greene in the later years of his career. Ejiofor on the other hand, having to put up with Greene’s constant barrage of nonsense morphs from a cold, brazen and unbelieving man into the excitable, ambitious and unstoppable manager of Petey Greene whose career pinnacle would be to get onto the Johnny Carson Show.

The characters transformation also runs parallel with the ever-changing landscape of the late-1960s and early-1970s. It was a tense period with racism still running rampant and events take a turn for the worse when Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated and Greene has to go on air to soothe the people of Washington. This happens to be one of the strongest scenes in the movie, which also speeds his path to fame.

While much is lauded about the actors who portray their characters brilliantly, the script, on the other hand fails to really match up. The dialogue and pace are pretty plain and linear causing this biopic to feel very predictable, lacking the charisma of the likes of Ray and The Aviator for example. Despite this being a movie about speaking up for what is right and the truth, it feels almost like a normal walk in the park.

That said, Talk to Me is still very much a watchable movie, just do not expect to discover something new leaving the theatre. The cast is fantastic and this really carries the movie ahead. Pity this one was overlooked.

Movie Rating:

(An actor’s movie through and through)

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri


. Youth Without Youth (2007)

. American Gangster (2007)

. The Queen (2006)

. The World's Fastest Indian (2005)

. After The Sunset (2004)

. Crash (2004)

. The Aviator (2004)

. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

. Reign Over Me DVD (2007)

. A Raisin In The Sun DVD (2007)



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