The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete is a small gem of a movie about two young boys, one black, the other Korean, trying to survive on their own in the projects of Brooklyn.
Director George Tillman Jr. has found, in Skylan Brooks (Mister) and Ethan Dizon (Pete), two astounding young actors to fill these roles. Brooks in particular looks like he’s carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and in some close-ups appears to be closer to eighty years old than thirteen. Both boys are outwardly emotional to the exact extent you’d think they would be, not more to wring false sympathy, not less to offer false toughness.
I watched the movie twice, and I believe Brooks is in literally every scene; his is one of the more indelible performances of the year. Tillman has a real way with actors, because at least two other performances were terrific, too. As Mister’s (his given name) troubled mother, Jennifer Hudson is rivetingly understated. And, in yet another towering performance, Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) burns a hole in the screen as Chris, the pimp who “employs” both Mister’s and Pete’s mothers. If you’re an NBA fan like me, perhaps you’ll agree that Mackie’s appearance was inspired by James Harden; it’s quite the menacing look. And, as so often happens with children’s first impressions of adults, Mister’s and Pete’s are nearly always wrong. – [DVD]
DVD Release Date: 2/4/14