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Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund) is a taciturn repo man rising through the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan in small-town South Carolina, 1996. Orphaned as a child, he is fiercely loyal to local Klan leader and toxic father figure Tom Griffin (a terrifying Tom Wilkinson). But Burden has a change of heart when he falls for Judy (Andrea Riseborough), a single mother who stirs his social conscience. His violent break from the Klan sends him into the open arms of Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker), an idealistic African American preacher, who offers him safety and a shot at redemption.
Based on a true story, writer/director Andrew Heckler’s debut drama is an unflinching examination of the neo-Confederate heritage of hatred and a moving character study about the hard work of undoing racism. Through Hedlund’s nuanced performance and Heckler’s sensitive exploration of class, race, and family—both genetic and adopted—this cautiously optimistic vision of social progress is at once a reflection on the stubborn roots of American racism and an urgent window into contemporary conflicts in the age of the alt-right.
SECTION Award Winners
RUN TIME 129 min