3 1/2 Stars
Director Mario Van Peebles, himself the star of the equally heartbreaking Ricky Bell story, delivers a solid film with emotional dimension and thoughtful direction. Although at 110 minutes the endless scenes of misfortune that befall these central characters becomes a bit of a weary affair. Thankfully, Peebles has also chosen to cast himself in a supporting role which adds a bit of humor and professionalism to the proceedings. Peebles has wisely populated his picture with strong acting talent; the entire film is impeccably filled out with no weak link in the ensemble.
The sports sequences are handled well with no signs of shortcuts and Jackson makes for a credible athlete. Ray Liotta is good in a small role as a cancer physician and Cedric Sanders, who was so appealing in the under-appreciated Rocksteady, is the quiet younger brother. This unusually gripping and thoroughly depressing tale is elevated by the level of talent in front of and behind the camera. All Things Fall Apart may appear to be TV movie of the week fare, but in reality it’s as gripping as anything HBO films or other cable networks is likely to produce this year.
Director: Mario Van Peebles
Stars: Curtis Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Ray Liotta