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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( 1:07:55)
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English, English - Hearing Impaired


    Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 136 mins . MA15+ . PAL


    How is it a town can go crazy? A whole town of people miseducated to the point where fellow human beings suddenly become Ďguiltyí just because of their skin colour? Itís bizarre and horrifying and it really happened in Florida on New Yearís Day in 1923. While the official death toll of the Rosewood Massacre stands at two white folks and six black folks, the estimated body count is anywhere between 40 and 150. All for nothing. All because of prejudice and stupidity and cowardice.

    Itís sickening.

    Rosewood documents this story from start to finish over its 136 minutes and while there are moments you may wish to shy away from, this story is important and needs to be heard. In Rosewood, a small, mostly black community is going about its business. There are rumours of an escaped chain-gang convict just as Mr Mann (Ving Rhames) comes into town looking to settle down. He makes friends swiftly through a New Yearís Eve celebration, but people are talking as to whether this drifter may be the escaped convict Jesse Harper. Elsewhere, while her husband is at work, a local white woman and her lover have a serious argument in which she is severely beaten. She claims it was perpetrated by a black man to cover her crime, and in a matter of moments the town has formed into a lynch mob and begun searching for this alleged attacker.

    "This is a war and we in the trenches!"

    Realising itís a matter of time before he is strung up, Mann leaves town before events escalate into murder. However, incensed by their new found power and revelling in old prejudice, the white folks in town arenít done there. Soon, the town is ablaze and black people are being rounded up and hung left, right and centre. Mann is found and chased back the way he came and soon meets up with a party of women and children who wonít survive without his assistance. With the help of a local white shopkeeper, they start hiding folks and organising a way to safety.

    The horror of this situation - white supremacists suddenly brave enough to don their Klan gear with the mob behind them - isnít glossed over. The evils of miseducation are emphasised here, moreso than white folks doing bad things. The story is objectively told and while getting a little sentimental at times, it is also told bravely and without prejudice of its own. In all, the story is one that needs to be told and is told well here. While running a little long with bouts of daylight between tense night scenes and peaking and ebbing action scenes, it gets a little disjointed. However, the last half runs quite smoothly and itís in this final hour or so, when the situation is totally out of control, that the real tension kicks in.

    Thereís an important message in this film thatís easy for us to distance ourselves from as Australians, being that this is about African-Americans, but the themes within are sadly all too familiar here.


    A beautiful transfer here from Warner and being a part of their cheaper range represents real value for money. Only a few faults stuck out in some blotchy flesh tones in the night and swamp scenes of both white and black folks and a crappy layer change. This is located at 1:07:55 and rates among the worst Iíve seen. A black screen holds for roughly four seconds (unnecessarily for the story) before cutting off the start of a sentence. Tsk tsk.

    Otherwise, the film looks sensational in its 2.35:1 screen ratio with 16:9 anamorphic enhancement.


    Again, a near faultless transfer here in the Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. This gets up and walks around a lot during the film, which works well for the atmosphere of folks running every which way. The swamp, too, is well catered for in the surrounds.

    Sound effects are fine with some nicely booming gunfire and no real use of stockish sound effects, but the overall sound is a little low. Most of this film was played out at near maximum volume on my teev and I still missed an occasional line. However, this is a minor infringement considering the quality of the overall audio package.


    Run right out of town, unfortunately. Warner misses a great opportunity to deliver some interesting facts or figures or even a featurette about this atrocity, but alas, no.


    While starting a little sleepily and reverting to that occasionally, this film still tells a powerful story that reminded me of Schindlerís List at times, believe it or not. The message here is not anti-white, but anti-miseducation, and that is one thatís as relevant today as ever it was.

    While not moving at the traditional pace of a film of this nature, the last hour really creates some genuine tension and is a well edited piece. Performances from Ving Rhames and Jon Voight are excellent, with Don Cheadle adding one of his always brilliant appearances as a humble musician determined to make a stand.

    The film isnít quite Ďrip-roariní entertainmentí as an American reviewer states on the case - it would appear too serious for that Ė but it is an important film and well worth watching.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3271
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      And I quote...
    "Rosewood is an important story told in a competent manner with a fairly clean transfer and great performances."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
    • Speakers:
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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