Ace Jackson is a Dead Man (2015) – By Matthew Robinson

Filmmaker and actor Sean Weathers tackles the subject of cyclical poverty and “ghetto” mentality in his provocative feature film “Ace Jackson is a Dead Man.” Shot entirely in black and white the world is instantly given a very dark, dirty and hopeless feel that expands as the movie progresses. What’s more Weathers has scrolling text appear simultaneously throughout the film spouting knowledge about just how corrupt and oppressive the American financial system is.

To call the film morose is not an insult that is the clear intention of Weathers who creatively edits in flashes of corpses, murder victims and severed limbs throughout the film. The idea is to create a visceral jolt with each image and to hammer home the fact that life is tough…and then you die. Something tells me Sean Weather and Cormac McCarthy would really get along.

The strength of the film are some well edited set pieces, a haunting hill song soundtrack that plays underneath almost every scene. The banjo hasn’t been this horrifying since “Deliverance.” Sean who plays as the lead Ace Jackson does an adequate job though he may have been better served finding another lead actor; he does a fine job but another actor in the role would have freed him up.

The plot is very simple: Ace Jackson is a small time crook looking to land a big score and gets in way over his head.  Jackson now becomes desperate trying to get random prostitutes to work for him to make him money; he tries robbing businesses and various other means in hopes of somehow getting out of debt from a very dangerous gangster.

The two biggest problems with this film are the lighting and some of the less necessary scenes. Because the movie is black and white any dark scenes are already hard to see, “Ace Jackson is a Dead Man” has far too many scenes where I could feel my eyes straining to see what was happening.

The second knock I have to give this film is the multiple graphic sex scenes that don’t progress the plot and slow down the film. They are graphic to the point of being pornography and they add nothing to the story’s flow. These moments could have been used to build up the character’s motivations and or conflict but instead it just comes off as an excuse to have some pretty women naked on screen.

Overall “Ace Jackson is a Dead Man” is a fairly decent indie film that is definitely trying to send a message to people; and I deeply respect that. The film doesn’t offer any solutions, but it does paint a very dark picture of the reality of many impoverished people. Weathers and his company Full Circle Movies will hopefully continue to make thought provoking films as I think it’s obvious they have a lot to say. “Ace Jackson is a Dead Man” has it’s issues, but if you’re interested in viewing a grim snapshot of American life it’s worth a watch.

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