The name Petey Greene won’t ring many bells this side of the Atlantic, but the outspoken DJ was big enough in his hey-day to garner an invitation to Carter’s White House. Director Kasi Lemmons punctuates the proto-shock jock’s familiar trajectory (from unhappy, to happy, back to unhappy) with footage of Vietnam protests and Luther King marches, aligning Greene’s establishment-bothering career to the zeitgeist - though whether that’s as a sign o’ the times reactionary or inspirational visionary is never settled on. The cast excel: Don Cheadle as Greene channels charm and obnoxiousness, but Chiwetel Ejiofor as boss-come-business-partner Dewey Hughes satisfies more, compelling whether tearfully eulogising his mercurial charge or mollifying apoplectic radio chief Martin Sheen. Even the insufferable screeching of Taraji P. Henson as Greene’s wife settles into something more nuanced, suggesting her early caricature is more a fault of the script than performance – typical of a film that squanders its talented cast on a rote run through a remarkable life.
Read our review of Talk To Me's cinematic release here.