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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(An actor’s movie through and through)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri