In the New York Observer
It‰s rare, I‰ll admit, but occasionally a good movie raises its head through the muck and mire and leaves me grateful but shocked with disbelief. Such a movie is American Violet, a harrowing, compelling and profoundly true story that dares to tackle an important but too rarely exposed issue of the abuse of power in the American criminal justice system. […]
It‰s hard to believe this kind of discrimination and racial profiling exists today, even in Texas. But American Violet is an eye-opener on several levels. It shows why American prisons are overflowing with more than two million convicts, 90 percent of whom accepted plea bargains, in a country with 13 million convicted felons on the outside of prison walls who cannot vote, apply for passports to leave or enjoy the benefits of Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and housing subsidies. It is also an indictment of the hypocrisy of backwoods ‹lawŠ that sanctions all-black arrests in hamlets ruled by all-white cops, scowling court-appointed lawyers and crooked judges. […]
At a time when almost every movie I see is about nothing at all, American Violet rattles a few cages with its story of personal courage against overwhelming odds. Sensational, nerve-racking stuff that leaves you shattered while it teaches you something.
Maybe this will help it get in more theaters.