Carl Franklin's stupendous livewire noir may have a Criterion release and a very vocal fanbase, but nothing Franklin ever did got the reception it deserved. Franklin became one of the greatest studio directors in America, and his movies all became affectionately remembered as B-sides with their every release.
And yet a look in the rearview reveals some of the most sturdy, wonderful, and unapologetic movies about race in America, featuring some of the most dynamic leading performances of their respective decades. Imagine a future where Carl Franklin didn't have to find work in TV, where he was given the resources of the Superhero Industrial Complex, where every two years we got another ace lead from Denzel Washington in his movies, and where he became America's director. To some of us, he still is.