PG (thematic elements, brief mild language); 111 min.
There's a fascinating story at the heart of Runaway Slave, a documentary about a group of young and middle-age African-Americans bucking recent history by coming out as loud-and-proud social and economic conservatives. Unfortunately, it's in the middle of a long-winded, repetitive, talking-head-filled film that feels more like a Tea Party infomercial.
Runaway Slave, directed by Pritchett Cotten , focuses on the journey of the Rev. C.L. Bryant, a former head of the NAACP chapter in Garland, who travels the country talking with other black activists, many of whom also have made the move from liberalism to conservatism. It might have made a more compelling film if Cotten and Bryant had focused on a handful of the local activists and how their work is changing communities as opposed to this broad sweep with its inclusion of so many conservative superstars (Glenn Beck, Herman Cain, Allen West, Armstrong Williams, the late Andrew Breitbart).
The film gets a surge of energy near the end when Bryant -- who had been making the case that big-time liberals and the Democratic Party have led the black community astray -- tries to get interviews with Jesse Jackson, NAACP President Ben Jealous and Al Sharpton. At best, he gets short shrift, and at worst, he gets ignored. This is an intriguing moment of culture clash, and Runaway Slave could use more of them.
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-- Cary Darling