Last night I attended and caught a screening of an extemely moving and at times quite heart wrenching film called 'The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete'. It was directed by George Tillman Jr., who is more used to major Hollywood productions. His list of credits include 'Soul Food' which starred Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long (the film's popularity resulted in a TV series), 'Men Of Honor' which starred Robert DeNiro and Cuba Gooding Jr. and the biopic of slain Brooklyn rapper The Notorious B.I.G., simply called 'Notorious'. So Tillman is no stranger to star power and dealing with big budgets.
Though the subject matter sounds thoroughly depressing, Tillman handles the story with a brutal honesty, yet manages just as happens real life, to allow genuine moments of humour to come to the surface. As you follow their tale you find yourself rooting for these two to survive with such intensity that you really do feel their joy and their pain. The pair come across situations that no child should ever face, yet you know in your heart sadly this is not the case in the real world. Both child actors brought a realism to their roles which won me completely over. The supporting cast all gave well rounded top quality performances, which included the aforementioned Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Wright as a homeless war veteran, Jordan Sparks as an ex neighbour trying to help the kids and an almost unrecognisable Anthony Mackie (with full beard and phsically bulked up) as the local pimp.
Apart from Tillman's top notch direction, credit should also go out to the excellent script by Michael Starrbury, perfectly capturing the mood of the piece and in doing so showing how survival can bring out so many different emotions. It is not by accident that this 14 year old is called Mister, even by his own mother. In the story he really has to step up as the man in charge. The wonderful Alicia Keys is one of the executive producers of the film and contributes her exquisite musical talents to the proceedings. All in all I found 'The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete', though tough at times to watch, a very powerful human drama with a lot of heart. Kudos to all involved. If you get a chance to see this film, I urge you to do so.
Here is a featurette for the film with director George Tillman Jr., composer Alicia Keys and actor Skylan Brooks: