Friday, February 12, 2016

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson

Based on a book by Geoffrey C. Ward, an account of the life of Jack Johnson, the brazen pugilist who, while always living life on his own terms, became the first black Heavyweight Champion inspiring ire and a slew of great white hope contenders. It has always been true of Ken Burns' films that they are well researched, impeccably presented with great writing, narration, cinematography, and footage although with his later films it has also become a standard for them to incorporate boring drones who compound belabored, obvious points with little wit and style, often to the film's detriment. With Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, all of this applies with Burns presenting a fascinating subject who is so bombastic, impressive, and impossible to peg down.
*** out of ****