"Upon his return from serving eight years in prison, reformed gang leader S. Lance Ingram (Daniel Beaty) struggles to adapt to a changed Harlem. Lance lives under the tough supervision of a parole officer in a halfway house. Unable to find a job with the computer tech training he received in prison, Lance is forced to take a delivery job in a food pantry. It is then that he meets and is befriended by Ms. Maddy (Loretta Devine), a 60-year-old strong and spirited grandmother. Lance assumes responsibility for the well-being of Ms. Maddy's 15-year-old grandson, Ty (Khadim Diop) - a promising student and artist who has become involved in a dangerous Harlem street gang. Lance tries to make peace with G-Rod (Justin Martin), the charismatic gang leader, and makes a deal to let Ty walk away. Lance risks sacrificing his second chance at freedom so that Ty can have a first chance at a better life." That is the official description for Chapter & Verse, now available on DVD and Digital HD from Anchor Bay Entertainment and Lionsgate, which has provided NewTechReview with a NFR copy for review.
I can only imagine what it must be like to go to prison and try acclimating into society after being released, and I pray I never have to find out. Director and co-writer of Chapter & Verse, Jamal Joseph, knows this topic all too well after being in prison for ten years for being involved with the Black Panthers. Both he and co-writer Daniel Beaty provide an authentic and emotional picture of what can happen to criminals in America. Daniel Beaty manages to dig deep and really bring this role to life with his poignant performance of the ex-con Lance.
But Beaty has plenty of help in telling this story with a wonderful supporting cast. Loretta Devine, Omari Hardwick, Justin Martin, and Selenis Leyva all portray their characters perfect and help add to a story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time.
Since this is a DVD release, there's nothing to really say about the technical aspects, but because the film was shot on location in Harlem, the picture provides a genuine feel and backdrop for the story. This music is also very fitting with a selection of hip-hop songs and some original scoring, which lend to the authenticity of the environment.
Although the film seems to start off a bit slow and it takes time to become familiar with all the characters, Chapter & Verse tells a captivating and emotional story about the difficulties someone can face when trying to start over from a criminal past. I can definitely recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a good drama.
For more information, visit:
* Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pprymi
* Website: lionsgate.com