Get on the Bus
Time Out saysLee assembles a crew of African-Americans travelling from South Central LA to attend Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March in Washington, DC, not only to celebrate an historic event, but to depict a microcosm of black (male) America - and to highlight the experiences and attitudes that divide, define and unite men bent on achieving a sense of brotherhood. Despite evident good intentions and the sterling performances, this ambitious road movie, set over three days in October 1995, never gets very far. Ironically (given some of Lee's earlier efforts), that's partly down to the director's determination to create a sense of balance: as scripted by Reggie Rock Bythewood, the passengers are more ciphers than fully rounded characters, while the conflict-driven narrative, which embraces issues of colour, class, criminality, age, religion and sexual politics, is schematic. Whether Farrakhan himself is simply pro-black, or sexist, anti-white and anti-Semitic is never really confronted, but the problem is less one of ideology than drama: though Lee's deft expertise keeps things pacy and (mostly) plausible, the material can't avoid a certain predictability and, in the end, a preachy sentimentality.