Nobody wants to listen or acknowledge, but Kevin Costner gives the finest, most layered and deep-downiest performance of the autumnal phase of his career in Mike Binder‘s Black or White (Relativity, 12.3). Why haven’t I been pushing his performance more or putting him on my lists? Because almost nobody is with me and I’m not brave or defiant enough to stand up alone. Which means that to some degree I’m a coward. But I’m telling the serious truth here about the quality of Costner’s performance. Watch the film and tell me I’m wrong.
It finally hit me last weekend why Costner isn’t getting any award-season traction to speak of.
Black or White wears its emotions a little too plainly at times, but Costner has mainly been jettisoned because (I know this sounds simplistic but trust me) the film has been thrown under the bus by the politically correct left. This is because Binder’s script doesn’t slavishly follow the “sensitive” liberal line about the black-white chasm and the stereotypes that cling to that, and so kneejerk lefties and their industry brethren have deep-sixed the film and Costner with it.
HE Community Shout-Out, posted at 1:38 pm Pacific: I’ve just accidentally erased 60% of this article. Brilliant. The remainder is (a) an explanation of the what the specific offense is, (b) a brief lament about the wrongness of dismissing this complex film, especially considering reports that it’s immensely popular with Joe Popcorn types of all persuasions, and (c) quotes from reviews or riffs written by L.A. Times critic Gary Goldstein, Variety‘s Tim Gray and myself. It won’t be impossible to reconstitute but I’m buried as it is. If anyone can send a copy-and-paste of the entire piece, please do so to email@example.com.
At least the comments survived.