Combustible Celluloid
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With: Mike Colter, Safiya Fredericks, Dylan Baker, Mark Leslie Ford, Emma Caulfield Ford, Steven Wiig, Monica Barbaro, Carl Lumbly, Greg Cipes, Ron Roggé, John Charles Meyer, Travis Johns, Lyle Kanouse
Written by: Patrick Gilles
Directed by: Patrick Gilles
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 78
Date: 06/10/2022

I'm Charlie Walker (2022)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Crude Dude

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This incredible story of early 1970s San Francisco suffers from its low budget — certain things are spoken rather than shown — but the crisp characters and complexly layered morality, all crammed into brisk 78 minutes, makes it very much worth a look. On January 19, 1971, two oil tankers collided, dumping 800,000 gallons of crude oil into the San Francisco Bay. Charlie Walker (Mike Colter, of Luke Cage) dreams of owning his own trucking business, but can't find work as a driver, due to institutional racism, even in liberal San Francisco. When he gets wind of the oil spill, Charlie talks his way into a job cleaning up Stinson Beach, which, due to changing winds and tides, ended up with a generous portion of the spill. Using his ingenuity and charm, Charlie tackles problem after problem, such as securing rigs, handling lawyers, accidents, sabotage, and recruiting hippie protestors to help with the cleanup. He also clashes with the snaky Mr. Bennett (Dylan Baker), head of Tower Oil. The rules are bent more than once here, and the movie boldly ponders whether Charlie is justified in doing so. He's not a traditional hero, but he's also allowed to be who he is. Safiya Fredericks narrates and plays Charlie's wife Ann, the only character Charlie can't fool.

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