The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Blood Done film translation becomes box office snoozer

By Joshua Knopp/reporter

Blood Done Sign My Name, a historic film, is based on the murder of Henry Marrow, a black Vietnam veteran.
Photo courtesy Real Folk Productions

While writer/director Jeb Stuart gives a valiant effort, Blood Done Sign My Name is just boring.

Blood Done Sign My Name is based on a book written by Timothy Tyson, the son of a Methodist minister, both of whom are portrayed in the film. The story is about the murder of Henry Marrow, a black Vietnam veteran returning to his home in Oxford, N.C. in 1970. Officially, his murder went unsolved and galvanized the black community in the county to claim their civil rights as the effects of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s movement in the previous decade had largely missed that part of the country.

The film is remarkable in its historical accuracy, portraying the murder and trial along with the arson spree and civil rights march that came in between.

Stuart explores new territory in Blood Done Sign My Name. His most successful works, Die Hard and The Fugitive, both high-powered action films, are a far cry from this film.

Not only is the genre different, but Stuart’s role is different as well. In Die Hard and The Fugitive, along with most of his other work, he only wrote the screenplay. Blood Done Sign My Name is only his second movie directing, the previous being Switchback.

Switchback was not only his first film directing, but the last film he worked on, more than a decade ago. This rust might contribute to his poor work on Blood Done Sign My Name, which bears both writing and directing as weak spots.

To Stuart’s credit, he tries to do some difficult things with the film. Historically accurate movies are inherently difficult as truth is often less entertaining than fiction. Also difficult to shoot are films with two storylines that don’t meet up. Sadly, Stuart fails to do either of these things well.

While the movie should be lauded for its scrupulous historical accuracy, the movie doesn’t have enough to make the events attention-grabbing, and the storylines take away from, rather than enhance each other like they should. In the final cut, it wouldn’t have been difficult to completely remove one of the storylines, which lost steam halfway through the film.

Blood Done Sign My Name tries to do some good things, and while it does have its moments, it simply can’t keep the audience’s attention for long stretches of film.

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