Like The Wire, HBO’s award-winning crime series starring Idris Elba, and Queen Latifah’s critically-acclaimed Beauty Shop with Djimon Hounsou, Aletha Jones-Campbell’s Somewhere in Baltimore, as the name gives away, was also shot in Baltimore, Maryland. But the similarities do not end there.
Whether it’s simply that good filmmakers find Baltimore to be a great backdrop for their movies, or that Baltimore brings out the best out of good filmmakers (and this may be a chicken-and-egg conundrum), but like other acclaimed movies made in Baltimore, Jones-Campbell has followed in that tradition with Somewhere in Baltimore, her tour de force debut, which has garnered several awards and won accolades for the self-trained Liberian female film producer. (Read more of her story here)
A spellbinding drama, Somewhere in Baltimore is a soul-searching coming of age story about a boy named Linus who witnesses the brutal murder of his parents in a botched home robbery that leaves him deeply scarred. As he struggles to deal with the trauma, Linus internalizes the heartrending dilemma life has thrust upon his brow and becomes introverted. And, Bobby Valentino, who plays Linus, pulls out the best from his acting repertoire to poignantly dramatize the struggles of his troubled character.
But, Linus’ introversion causes him to be misunderstood by even those closest to him from childhood into adulthood. And, when his neighborhood begins to experience a series of child homicides, he consequently falls into the crosshairs of his neighbors as the prime suspect. And, even when he tries to open himself up more to the people closest to him, it is a suspicion that he finds hard to shake off.
In a prescient scene in the movie, as his neighbors gather to discuss the spate of murders in the neighborhood and cast aspersions on Linus, the pastor of the neighborhood church, played by Frank Mahoney, makes an incisive comment, one that seems to underpin the movie’s narrative: “We all have our angels and demons. Some choose to live with their angels while others bow in defeat to their demons.”
Had Linus bowed in defeat to his demons and become a serial murderer? His neighbors were convinced that he had. But could their suspicions be misguided and the murderer be someone else lurking in their midst?
To say more would push me off the precipice of giving too much away, and that I do not intend to do. So you would just have to purchase the DVD on Amazon and watch the movie yourself.
And, with the holiday season right around the corner, this is a great family movie touching on issues such as bullying, peer exclusion and community cohesiveness that would be a great holiday gift.
Also, if you may know, and I think you should, Somewhere in Baltimore was written by Jones-Campbell’s husband, Andrew Campbell. And this is not intended as a sidebar information, but to let you know that Somewhere in Baltimore is a movie from a husband-and-wife team packing a lot of creative pizzazz and you should therefore expect to see more great movies from them.
My advice to you then is to join the bandwagon now and get your copy of Somewhere in Baltimore!