Even though “Supremacy” draws from actual events in Sonoma County two decades ago, the film plays out almost like a conventional Hollywood hostage thriller but for the incendiary, racially charged subtext.
Soon after Doreen (Dawn Olivieri) picks up the newly paroled Aryan brother Tully (Joe Anderson) from the pen, he guns down a sheriff’s deputy who has pulled them over. The fugitives then invade a nearby home and take hostage the African American family inside.
The patriarch (Danny Glover) calmly tries to establish common ground with the hostage takers even as they rile up the rest of the family — and by extension, the viewers — with cringe-inducing slurs and taunts.
This being a hostage thriller, quarreling perpetrators and near-miss escape plans are inevitable. But writer Eric J. Adams ups the ante by creating dissent among the hostages. Director Deon Taylor impressively paces the film with unrelenting tension.
Adams interestingly opts to tell the story from Tully and Doreen’s perspective, while using shorthand for the Walker family (seniors, women, children) that immediately gains viewers’ sympathy. Yet he doesn’t attempt moral ambiguity by assigning Tully and Doreen any redeeming qualities. Given the circumstances, Anderson and Olivieri do a commendable job playing the despicable lowlifes and keeping our stomachs in knots.
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes.
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood. Also on VOD.