Movie trailers can be incredible. They can whip potential audiences up into a frenzy of anticipation, and boost box office takings immeasurably – at least in the opening weekend. If the project is interesting, and the talent involved is particularly noteworthy, then there really is no reason why a trailer can’t make enormous waves on release. Unfortunately, though those ingredients are present in Black Or White, the trailer proves to be more of a ripple than a wave.
Written and directed by Mike Binder (The Upside Of Anger), Black Or White focuses on subject matter that is at the heart of social issues in the U.S, and is currently in the spotlight of international news. Its lead actors – Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer – are both Academy Award winners, with a supporting cast featuring Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s Anthony Mackie and Community’s Gillian Jacobs. However, the trailer suggests a product that struggles to lift itself above the feel of a television movie of the week.
The official synopsis is as follows:
“Black Or White is the story of a grandfather (Academy Award winner Kevin Costner) who is suddenly left to care for his beloved granddaughter. When the little girl’s paternal grandmother (Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer) seeks custody, a legal battle ensues that forces the families to confront their true feelings on race, forgiveness and understanding. Anchored by an all-star cast and based on real events, the movie is a look at two seemingly different worlds, in which nothing is as simple as black or white.”
The film that is presented in this preview seems to employ the enjoyable charm of Costner and the impeccable timing of Spencer, while placing at its centre a winning performance from young actress Jillian Estell. However, the point that lingers after the snippet ends is the question of whether the motivations of Costner’s lonely character are selfless or not, rather than highlighting issues of race. It is this emphasis that changes the focus of the trailer – from an uncompromising look at a disturbing social issue, to a gentle family drama.
Black Or White screens in iPic theatres for one week from December 3rd 2014, before a nationwide release on January 30th 2015.