Movie Reviews: Cover




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     American Cinema International
     A wife’s life falls apart when she discovers her husband has been leading a double life.
     Aunjanue Ellis, Vivica A. Fox, Raz Adoti, Lou Gossett Jr., Leon, Paula Jai Parker,  Roger Guenveur Smith
Bottom Line:

Samantha Ofole-Prince

Veteran actress Ellis (“Undercover Brother) is Valerie Mass, a doting mother and loving wife who relocates with her husband Dutch (Adoti) to Philadelphia when he’s offered a prospective position at a local hospital as a psychiatrist. With a sprawling house and a six figure income they become part of Philly’s elite and Valerie’s soon living the American dream. When her best friend Zahara (Fox) produces comprising photographs of Dutch entwined in the arms of another woman, the marriage heads in a downward spiral leading to a shattering discovery that threatens to tear the pair apart.

“Cover” doesn’t reek with perfection but the plot is a labyrinth of successive revelations and unexpected turn of events that play into a decent and explosive story.  The mood, the style and tone of the film resembles a classic noir film for it begins with a shooting and an arrest and what follows is a narration of events seen through the eyes of Valerie in a series of haunting flashbacks. Gossett plays the detective intent on obtaining a murder confession whilst Leon, Smith and Parker play Dutch’s old school chums.

For director Bill Duke, the puzzle at the heart of the film not only provides an opportunity to examine the issues that surround marriage and infidelity, but to also drum home the issue of personal responsibility.

“What we wanted to do was to create a film that was not only in a different genre but a film that also talks about our community in terms of a black middle class family that we don’t see on the screen for the most part. So it’s not only just about one thing,” Duke claims.

Bogged down by pacing and editing problems “Cover” isn’t quite the taut and intense ‘edge of your seat’ thriller it sets out or has the potential to be but what it lacks in that area it makes up in acting. Adioti (“Amistad”), an unfamiliar face to many showcases his extraordinary theatrical genius in portraying the multifaceted Dutch whilst Ellis tugs at heartstrings with her poignant portrayal of a wronged housewife.

A thriller with a social conscience “Cover” packs a considerable wallop largely due to its explosive twist.



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