BLACK N’ BLUE is an Award Winning Short Film – Written by B. Todd Johnston and Directed by Julius B. Kelly. This film tells the story of Eric (Johnston), a Marine who comes home after a long and deadly tour.
Two important topics are explored in this film – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – along with excessive and deadly force used by Police Officers in Black communities.
The score during the opening credits (Andrew Markus) feels tribal. It gives the audience the feeling that someone – or something – is being hunted.
The film opens up with Eric holding a gun by his head. He is having flashbacks of life events that lead up to this day. In a poignant scene between Eric and his therapist (Suzzanne Douglas), she points out he has endured “47 confirmed kills” and he responds “just goes with the territory I guess”.
Sergeant Kowalski (Jim Thalman) is the Police Officer in question for shooting and killing a young Black teen – who was Eric’s childhood friend. When Eric confronts him, Kowalski seems to have an emotional disconnect when speaking about the boy. Their conversation becomes heated and permanent consequences are made.
The story adds an interesting layer when Police Officer Terrell (Stan J. Adams) comes into Eric’s home to confront him. The revelation that they are friends – heightens the stakes for both.
What this film brings to light is how PTSD is all consuming. It takes over the mind and body and changes how one can react. Living with PTSD, for these war heroes, is a separate tour of duty – no one returns home the way they left. Excessive Police force ALWAYS needs to be addressed.
This film cries out for an answer.
The therapist sums it up best…. “So what’s the solution?”