Blood Done Sign My Name Clichéd, But Important
Simple civil rights drama splits critics
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2010 2:23 PM CST

(Newser) – Critics are somewhat divided on Blood Done Sign My Name, a civil rights drama with more honesty than panache. Here’s what they’re saying:

  • From its not-exactly-deep dialogue to its “not-quite-stereotypical but not-quite-real” characters, Blood “has the look and feel of a dependable TV movie,” says Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer. But the story is so “important and instructive” that it “nonetheless deserves attention.”

  • It’s a clichéd movie, packed with “the kinds of scenes you've seen done better 100 other times,” says Kyle Smith of the New York Post. The white protagonist “shouldn’t even be in the movie,” existing only to show us that “a heinous killing supplied a useful lesson about racism to a little white kid.”
  • Ronnie Scheib of Variety calls it a “painfully old-fashioned, flatly directed exercise in passionless historical reenactment.” A politically safe, lifeless script forces the actors to “slog through their designated roles.”
  • It’s not a flashy movie, admits Roger Ebert; “Meat and potatoes, you could say,” he writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. “But it's thoughtful and moving,” a “level, unforgiving” account of a not-so-distant time.