Black and White Review

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Robert Carlyle plays a lawyer forced to defend a black man framed for the rape and murder of a young white girl.


A poor "black fellah" accused of the rape and murder of a young white girl, a white lawyer determined to defend him, a small-minded white community who want to railroad a guilty verdict... comparisons to To Kill A Mockingbird are inevitable, but shouldn't be allowed to overshadow this ambiguous take on a famous Australian trial from 1959.

Robert Carlyle, a million miles away from psycho villain mode, is the inexperienced lawyer handed the case, and he makes a fine job of vocalising the audience's frustration at the establishment's handling of events. The title doesn't just refer to the racial divide, but also to the newspaper campaign spearheaded by Rupert Murdoch (Ben Mendelsohn) - perhaps the origins of the uneasy mix of moral condemnation and voyeuristic sensationalism that still fuels the tabloids' fire today.

A mild if interesting take on legal and tabloid hypocrisy.