American Violet | Chicago Reader

American Violet

A state-of-the-art Hollywood issue drama (2010), with strong performances all around and a script that digs deep into the problems of criminal justice. A single mother in a small-town Texas housing project (Nicole Beharie) is rounded up in a drug sweep and, based on the word of a single informant, charged with felony drug distribution. She's innocent, but her public defender urges her to accept a plea bargain of ten years' probation and go home to her kids; instead, the indictment falls apart and the woman throws in with the ACLU as lead plaintiff in a civil rights case against the county's ruthless DA (Michael O'Keefe). Screenwriter Bill Haney, best known for his muckraking documentary The Price of Sugar, perfectly balances politics and human drama, creating juicy, righteous parts for Alfre Woodard (as the woman's formidable mother), Tim Blake Nelson (as an ACLU attorney carefully navigating around the good-ol'-boys), and Will Patton (as his partner, a local lawyer whose conscience turns him against his old pals on the police force). Tim Disney directed.

Credits

Director:

  • Tim Disney

Cast:

  • Nicole Beharie
  • Alfre Woodard
  • Charles Dutton
  • Tim Blake Nelson
  • Will Patton
  • Xzibit
  • Michael O'Keefe
  • Malcolm Barrett
  • Tim Ware
  • Paul David Story

Writer:

  • Bill Haney

Producer:

  • Bill Haney

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