‘Native Son’ Film Review: Updated Take Shows Richard Wright’s Classic Remains All Too Relevant

  • The Wrap
‘Native Son’ Film Review: Updated Take Shows Richard Wright’s Classic Remains All Too Relevant
Revamping Richard Wright’s 1940 seminal novel via a modern adaptation by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, first-time feature director Rashid Johnson has made a thunderous impression with “Native Son,” which had its world premiere Thursday at the Sundance Film Festival.

A gut-punch of a debut that examines race relations in America with unabashed force, Johnson’s present-day interpretation proves, disgracefully, how pertinent Wright’s text remains.

Still set in Chicago and subdivided into “Fate,” “Fear,” and “Flight” segments (as in the source material but in rearranged order), the thought-provoking film is steered by Bigger “Big” Thomas, a non-conformist African American youth garbed in a customized leather jacket and sporting green hair.

Also Read: Ashton Sanders' 'Native Son' Acquired by HBO Films

Lyrical voice-over quickly provides access to his sharp-edge observations on the external entities that constantly challenge his self-awareness. Parks and Johnson repeatedly confront him with fellow African
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