WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
WATCH THE FILM HERE
First, the Recap:
Race. Not the kind where you run towards a finish line, but rather the delineation between ethnicities, colors, and creeds. A hotbed topic is modern age, the divisions between human beings over race is so often tragic, with more damage inflicted that healing and forgiveness granted. How we individually see race is moreso illustrated when a situation arises where there is no way to avoid confronting it. Take one man, James (Luke Robertson), who arrives at a local recycling facility simply to dump off a load of leaves and branches and head on his way. Also present are two other men, Jean (Tishuan Scott) and Benoit (Hubert Point-Du Jour), also unloading their items. Unbeknownst to James, his feelings about race are about to be exposed.
Packed up and ready to leave, Jean gets James’ attention, asking him to borrow his broom in order to sweep out his truck. Initially, albeit briefly, hesitant, James allows Jean to utilize the tool. Soon, Jean and James are simply two men sharing a smoke and talking about their children in the back of Jean and Benoit’s hauler. Next, the three are running through the back areas of the recycling center, high, having fun, and simply being human together–friends together. However, upon returning to their vehicles, a local cop, Officer Davis (Alexis Suarez) arrives and begins to question Jean about what he and Benoit were up to on restricted property, much less about the smell of pot on Jean’s breath. In an instant, one decision is made by James that shatters the bond just created.
Next, my Mind:
There is absolutely no question whatsoever that writer/director Spencer Gillis is taking the intentionally provocative road with this 13-minute foray into one of the most debated, feared, controversial, and inflammatory subjects out there, especially now in the United States. Deliberately executed to invoke a wide range of emotions and stir up the viewer to look not just at the greater issue of racism, but to turn the spotlight inward and assess themselves as well, the film presents a smartly-written narrative that vividly paints a picture of how apprehension and uneasiness can turn into understanding and friendship, but then get turned back into agitation and phobia again when a man’s true colors show in time of forced decision and self-preservation, even at the cost of another’s pride and trust. It is this harsh reality that gives the film its punch, and delivers a finale that is nothing short of maddening, yet thought-provoking.
Robertson’s performance certainly brings across the attitude and apprehensive demeanor of James incredibly well throughout, showcasing a man who just wants to be about his business getting confronted with that which he does fear, whether he says it or not. Watching the transformation he does once getting to know Jean is a moment of revelatory brilliance, which only makes what happens later that much more demoralizing for the viewer. Again, Robertson is spot on here. Likewise, equal amount of credit most assuredly goes to Scott, whose Jean is the most regular, normal, human, hard-working guy you could meet. Friendly and willing to ask for help, ultimately coaxing James out of his anxieties without even realizing it by just having average conversation and interaction, it only makes the consternation he expresses at the end that much more profound and meaningful to the film’s message. All of this is executed with excellence by Scott.
Solid supporting turns from Point-Du Jour and Suarez add the final touches, and with that, “Sweep” becomes a necessary, in-your-face, realistic, and hard look at how we’ve so lost touch in connecting with each other as human beings by instead substituting judgment, skin color, stereotypes, hatred, and indifference as the “truths” to live by. Truthfully, may God have mercy on us all that we may find a way back to unity and faith regardless of race, color, and creed.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!