SXSW 2018: Fast Color: A Post-Black Panther World

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in FAST COLOR. Photo Credit: Jacob Yakob.

With a captivating performance from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Fast Color is a female-led superhero thriller that touches on the supernatural in a post-Black Panther world.

Fast Color is the second feature film to be directed by Julia Hart.   At the core of it, the film is about a family of strong women who have the ability to create things and see the colors while doing so.  Unfortunately for Ruth (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), she was never able to see the world in which her ancestors saw it.  Instead, she isn’t blessed with the same gifts but cursed with earthquake-fearing seizures that have the authorities on the hunt.

It’s because of the seizures that Ruth leaves her daughter, Lila (Saniyya Sidney) in the caring hands of her mother, Bo (Lorraine Toussaint).  Ruth had to do what was best for Lila no matter the cost but ultimately, Ruth’s family is what came calling back for her as she’s on the run from scientists and others who may be chasing her because of the damage she’s done along the way.  As all of this happens, Sheriff Dean Ellis (David Straithairn) takes a personal interest in the chase, warning Bo by any means necessary if he has to do so.

What these women are able to do with their abilities are taking objects and shatter them into smaller pieces and make them whole again.  These usually come with streaks of colors moving by at a fast rate.  Bo and Lila have seen the colors but Ruth has never seen the colors in her lifetime.

When screenwriters Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz set off to pen the screenplay for Fast Color, chances are likely that they had no clue what the box office would look like in the days leading up to the world premiere.  The film comes on the heels of Black Panther‘s world domination and Ava DuVernay’s diverse casting for A Wrinkle in Time.  None of that matters because this is a film that offers some gripping performances from people of color in leading and supporting roles.

In co-writing the screenplay, Hart touches on her own experiences as a mother.  These experiences that only a mother can write are the type of experiences that show through in the screenplay.  There some moments in which the emotions pack a strong punch by way of Toussaint and Mbatha-Raw.

Fast Color may be a superhero movie but it’s a different type of film with a natural tone complementing the film.  Moreover, the diversity in casting is the film’s biggest plus as Hollywood embarks on an era in which representation matters.

DIRECTOR:  Julia Hart
SCREENWRITERS: Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz
CAST:  Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lorraine Toussaint, Saniyya Sidney, Christopher Denham, David Strathairn

An official selection of the 2018 SXSW Film Festival, Fast Color premiered as a part of the Narrative Spotlight program. Grade: 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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