Don Bares His Soul as a Sixties DJ; Hey Mr DJ ... Don Cheadle as Petey Greene and Taraji P. Henson as Vernell Watson in Talk to Me

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), November 25, 2007 | Go to article overview

Don Bares His Soul as a Sixties DJ; Hey Mr DJ ... Don Cheadle as Petey Greene and Taraji P. Henson as Vernell Watson in Talk to Me


Byline: Jason Solomons

Talk To Me (15) **** is fab and funky and based on the story of a blackdisc jockey in Washington DC during the civil-rights fever of the late Sixties.

Petey Greene, played with a cool strut and equally bouncy afro by Don Cheadle,was a forerunner of Richard Pryor, and his street humour and outspoken politicsmade him a local hero.

He came to the fore when he guided the city through the turmoil surrounding theassassination of Martin Luther King, a passage handled with brilliantsensitivity and style by director Kasi Lemmons.

Talk To Me - the title's taken from Petey's catchphrase - whizzes by in akaleidoscope of soul music, flares and black consciousness. It's breezily,boldly directed by Ms Lemmons, who concentrates the drama on Petey and hismanager Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

Cheadle is wonderfully brittle, delivering a witty, soulful performance.Ejiofor also ups his game - to watch the scene when he clears a pool tablewhile recounting his tough childhood is to witness a British actor clearing theway to a spectacular Hollywood career. Talk To Me is unlikely to get theexposure it deserves - but trust me, you'll love it.

Irish horror Shrooms (18) ** is a bit of a comedown for director PaddyBreathnach, who showed huge promise with his 1997 black comedy I Went Down. InShrooms, four stereotypical American students (geek, hot chick, dumb jock, bratprincess) eat trip-inducing mushrooms in an Irish forest after hearing of aformer boys' prison nearby and meeting a couple of cackling, goat-killinglocals. Though there's nothing original or scary here, the ending was asurprise - but I'm rubbish at twists. …

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