Paul Laurence Dunbar: An American Poet – A Short Film Review


Paul Laurence - American poet

Paul Laurence Dunbar: An American Poet is an excellent example of how the short film can be used to present historical events and leave a lasting impression on the audience. Director Kane Stratton perfectly captures A. Slates’ poem “Sympathy”, which is the real highlight of the film.

What is Abnout all about?

40 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, America has yet to fulfill its promise to all citizens. So the day came when a prolific writer and poet called the world. It reminded us all that we cannot do without our most sacred virtues…compassion and compassion.

My opinion

Kane Stratton has created a remarkable short film that captivates audiences with powerful storytelling and moving performances. Stratton perfectly recreates the historical setting with great camerawork and an eye for detail. The film’s themes focus on compassion and racial inequality in the late 1800s in Dayton, Ohio. The film is beautiful, with great shot selection that really helps set the scene and quickly immerse the audience. The dialogue keeps the story moving and the camera cuts keep the conversation with the audience.

Paul Laurence Dunbar’s rendering of A. Slate’s poem “Sympathy” is the highlight of the film. From the first line to the last, Slate is extremely powerful, behind every word. Slate embraces the character and delivers each line with a convincing passion that ensures the audience is hanging on every word. The descriptions and metaphors of the poems about oppression and the desire for freedom are given real life by Slate’s words, really feeling the message that Dunbar was trying to get across. The reading of the poem is something that really needs to be seen.

The soundtrack by Umvikeli G. Scott Jones is extremely haunting and moving. I feel that the soundtrack enhances this short film from start to finish. From the opening credits to the screenplays, I feel Jones sets a great tone for the film. COMposition is the perfect companion to this brief.

Paul Laurence - An American Poet_2

Remarkable achievements

A. Slate gives an intense performance as Paul Laurence Dunbar. Slate showcases the celebrated poet’s defiance and passion as he flexes his acting muscles in a truly fiery yet soothing performance. I felt Slate had the right balance for this character. The Slates’ performance of ‘Sympathy’ was clearly a joy to watch, delivered to perfection and perhaps mistaken for overshadowing the rest of their performance. The paper’s talent is undeniable.

Mayor Timothy J. Cox Snyder. Cox captures a rather slippery and self-assured nature in Snyder that tends to be a bit of an arrogant character. Cox and Slate create an exciting dynamic that plays very well on camera and in turn really livens up the meeting between Snyder and Dunbar. Cox’s performance proves that as an actor he has the flexibility to adapt his performance to a wide range of roles.

The verdict

Overall, “Paul Laurence Dunbar: An American Poet” is a triumph of storytelling and artistic execution. The film’s style, cinematography, and attention to detail transport viewers to a pivotal time in history, allowing them to reflect on enduring themes of compassion and racial inequality. Director Kane Stratton’s vision and exceptional performances, especially the delivery of the poem, make this short a truly memorable and impactful cinematic experience.

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Lifelong movie fanatic. Supported by Inide Film. DVD collector and 80s action movie fan. Curry lover!

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