D: Reginald Hudlin

Open Road/Starlight/Chestnut Ridge (Paula Wagner, Reginald Hudlin & Jonathan Sagner)

US 2017

118 mins


W: Michael Koskoff & Jacob Koskoff

DP: Newton Thomas Sigel

Ed: Tom McArdle

Mus: Marcus Miller

Chadwick Boseman (Thurgood Marshall), Josh Gad (Sam Friedman), Kate Hudson (Eleanor Strubing), Dan Stevens (Loren Willis), James Cromwell (Judge Foster), Sterling K. Brown (Joseph Spell)

Chadwick Boseman delivers an excellent performance in this biographical courtroom drama as Thurgood Marshall, a defence attorney and civil rights lawyer who would go on to become instrumental in the Brown vs Board of Education legal case in the mid-1950's, where racial segregation in educational establishments was dissolved. He also went on to become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, but the events in this film pre-date these two events, instead focusing on a lesser known criminal case in America's Deep South.

Offering his services to African-American's who otherwise would have no means of representation, Marshall takes on the case of Joseph Spell, a black chauffeur standing trial for the rape of his employer's wife, but the lawyer's hands are tied by the presiding judge, and a white, Jewish lawyer, Sam Friedman, is brought in to act as proxy.

Though the court case is where the majority of this story takes place, the case in question has been handled before in other courtroom dramas, albeit slightly differently, and the film doesn't tackle Marshall's bigger achievements at all, and much of the events here are either diluted or dramatised through the PC lenses of modern society, rather than presenting a hard-bitten version of the truth.

Still, the performances are very good, especially from the lead actor, and it's certainly worth a watch.


Chadwick Bozeman in Marshall
Chadwick Bozeman in Marshall