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Jamison Joyce, Memorial Staff Writer

After “The Sunken Place,” a trance-like state of victimized hypnosis was featured in Jordan Peele’s 2017 film “Get Out,” the phrase that once existed strictly in a science fiction universe has become a symbol of unwitting oppression against African Americans.

 The film industry has taken this idea of silenced marginalization and created what is known as “Cinema’s Sunken Place.” Film Directors Gerad Bush and Christopher Renz have reopened the doorways of “The Sunken Place” in the 2020 Film “Antebellum.” 

The movie is focused around Dr. Veronica Henley, a successful author and civil rights activist. Henley is on a business trip to promote her newest book, when she is kidnaped and wakes up in a nightmare for many people of African American descent. She wakes up on the saddle of a horse in a confederate plantation. Henley, now known as Eden, is forced to do slave labor and she is beaten, raped and tortured for months while her family searches for her.

Upon the arrival of a girl named Shoshanna she recognizes Henley and confesses to her that she is pregnant. This inspires her to plan an escape.

The plot of “Antebellum” was well thought out and an interesting concept, that being said the film lacked other viewpoints of the story. Grammy nominated recording artist Janelle Monae, who played Henley, was in nearly every scene of the movie. We never see her family’s reaction when she didn’t return from her trip or her best friend’s reaction, who she was with moments before being kidnapped. This lack of detail gave the movie a shortage in substance and variety making the movie boring at some points. 

Another shortcoming the film had was its pacing. The exposition of the film was very slow and confusing. It explained little of what was happening which led to a lot of uncertainty. The film’s third act was by far the most entertaining part of the movie. It was action packed, suspenseful and left the audience on the edge of their seats, giving the audience the action they wanted to see, it was impactful and almost flawless.

Overall “Antebellum” is a good movie that had many negative and positive aspects. It had an interesting concept behind it and made people want to keep watching to see what would happen next. The directors did a good job of executing the plot, but it would be surprising if it won any major awards. “Antebellum” was definitely worth the watch and will be talked about for years to come.


Contact Jamison Joyce at [email protected]