Film

Danny Glover vs. a Neo-Nazi: Hostage Drama Supremacy Isn’t Supreme at All

by

Multiple generations of an African American family slowly mollify the gun-crazed neo-Nazi (Joe Anderson) holding them hostage in the dour, dreary drama Supremacy.

Tully (Anderson) is escorted from jail by Doreen (Dawn Olivieri), a jittery, drug-abusing Aryan groupie, to a meeting with his associates. But after Tully fatally shoots a cop, they hide out in a backwoods house, where they terrorize the elderly Mr. Walker (Danny Glover) and his close-knit brood.

For the next 90 or so minutes, Glover — playing yet another gentle, whispery sage — and the various relatives preach platitudes about love and tolerance to their captor, who tells them to “shut the fuck up” or taunts them with racial slurs. Very little else happens. Director Deon Taylor punctuates this claustrophobic standoff with flashbacks to how, exactly, the policeman’s murder came to pass, but none of them reveal anything more substantive or complex about Tully.

The ugly dialogue would be far more chilling if Tully’s hatred were compelled by some traumatic past incident we could sympathize with, as with Edward Norton’s character in American History X. But in Eric J. Adams’s wan screenplay, Tully just registers as a cretinous blank; his prejudices seem rootless, so his tirades have no staying power. Neither does the twist about Walker also being an ex-con; disappointingly, Walker never uses his supposed street smarts to overtake Tully. Far more interesting — although wildly incomprehensible — is the character of Doreen.

One minute she’s a sort of racist Lady Macbeth figure, the next she’s a weeping humanitarian, and then back again. Olivieri gives the strongest performance here, though, temporarily lifting Supremacy from its torpor.