Talk To Me

Talk To Me

(2008)
The true-life story of Ralph Waldo ‘Petey’ Greene Jr. (Don Cheadle), an ex-con who became a popular Washington radio DJ in the late 60s.

With the support of his tempestuous girlfriend, the smooth-talking Petey charms his way onto the airwaves, becoming an iconic radio personality, surpassing even the established popularity of his fellow disc jockeys, Nighthawk and Sunny Jim.

As Petey’s voice and humor captures the vitality of the era, listeners tune in to hear not only incredible music but also a man speaking directly to them about race and power in America like few people ever have.

Flicks Review

Proves the old rule: posters that highlight the stellar soundtrack are probably promoting mediocre films.

Tell it to the high, tell it to the low. It was true in the old days when you got gypped on Ninja Turtles 2 cause the poster offered you Vanilla Ice; it was true a few years ago when that damnable Haunted Hill remake had a poster offering you Marilyn Manson; it's true now, when Talk To Me tries to get you in the door by offering you "a vibrant sixties soundtrack". Wake the hell up! Big badge on poster espousing soundtrack EQUALS mediocre movie. It's scientific!

Talk To Me does make a stab at letting the vitality of the Sixties soul music scene provide its claim to a pulse. Maybe this is where it slips up: not only is that soundtrack a K-Tel Best of Protest Sounds compilation at best, totally bereft of hidden gems or tonal surprises, but whenever things get really heavy, the soundtrack just throws up its hands and gives up: "A song that would capture the violent despondence of the nation’s soul when Dr. King was shot? Hell, I got nothing - get some fool in here with a synthesiser, play some Movie of the Week shit over it or something."

But deeper than this problem of faith in its own lifeblood, Talk to Me just doesn't know who it's about. The top billing goes to Cheadle, whose spirited turn is the only thing about the pic qualifying it for comparison with Talk Radio or even Pump Up the Volume. But his is relegated to a supporting role for Ejiofor, who gets the first shot, the last thought, and everything in between of any consequence.

And the problem is that his just isn't a very interesting story.


The Peoples' Reviews

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The Press Reviews

  • BBC

    A traditionally handsome biopic bursting with 1960s period detail and firecracker performances, Talk To Me tackles one of the most volatile periods in American history, but tragically finds nothing interesting to say about it. Full Review

  • Nonetheless, with a stunning soul soundtrack and scathing one-liners, Talk to Me is well worth a watch, if only to compare how placid and scripted today's radio personalities have become. Full Review

  • There’s terrific chemistry between the leads, but an episodic structure set over 20 years is too sprawling to really allow for a connection. Full Review

  • The movie is decent enough, but contains Greene's story in a sentimentalised career arc. Full Review

  • With its R&amp;B soundtrack and footage of civil unrest, <em>Talk to Me</em> might seem to cover familiar ground. But as an intimate portrait of the complex, fruitful and extremely volatile friendship between trailblazing African American men whose daring came to redefine an industry, it's fresh and revelatory. Full Review

  • The more Petey is allowed to live and breathe as a '60s streetwise hustler who literally barges his way into a D.C. radio station, the better pic handles its various agendas. But as Petey becomes a symbol of black liberation, the movie turns obvious and parched. Full Review

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