Night Catches US: Barbara Mickens-Alajiki
This film is very powerful and moving to me. It displays the anger left over in the late 1970′s in the Philadelphia black community after the fight for equality in the 60′s. Police brutality and reckless violence full of hate and displaced anger are major themes in this film. Most of the characters cannot let go of the past, therefore, they are hindering themselves from moving forward.Jimmy, a young black man and the cousin of Patricia (Kerry Washington) is full of hate and anger towards the white police officers of the city, eventually murdering one in cold blood towards the end of the film, which ends in the Jimmy’s own demise via Philly cops and their guns. Patricia ex-husband had been a panther that had let anger take over his mind and life and killed a cop…ending in his demise as well. I think Jimmy was a symbol of holding on to the past, just like Patricia does, making it impossible for the characters to move forward with their lives, and to not let race, violence and redemption be the only focuses of their lives. Unfortunately, the only character that understands that they have to let go of the past is Marcus. Marcus is an ex panther who is believed by the community to have snitched on Patricia’s ex-husband to the FBI resulting in his brutal death. However, it was Patricia that snitched in order to save her and her daughter. In the end, after Jimmy’s similar death to Neil’s, Marcus leaves town to move on while Patricia decides that she cannot leave her home and bring her daughter with her to leave with Marcus. Marcus’s character was very strong and led the film. He displays reason in the film and makes the right choice to leave the past behind him in the end.