Release Date: March 30th, 2007 (IFC Center) by Milestone Film.
The Cast: Henry G. Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy, Angela Burnett, Eugene Cherry, Jack Drummond.
Directed by Charles Burnett.
BASIC PREMISE: Stan (Sanders), an abattoir worker, deals with his depression while living with his wife (Moore) and his two young kids in Watts, a small, poor suburb of Los Angeles.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Originally filmed in 1977, but shelved since then because of problems buying the music rights, Killer of Sheep has just been released theatrically now and restored to 35mm through the UCLA Film & Television Archives. The Library of Film Congress’s National Film Preservation Board deservedly added it to the National Film Registry in 1990. It feels very much like a documentary given the organic dialogue, a slim plot, and each actor gives a very natural performance. Many scenes merely show Stan, his wife and his kids doing their daily activities with very little conflict. Stan mopes around the house and has trouble sleeping while his wife tries, unsuccessfully, to help him. His life doesn’t get any less mundane, especially working at the morbid abattoir. Not much action happens until his two friends arrive and suggest that he joins them in a murder plot, but he refuses and his wife gets angry at them. What makes these slow-paced scenes surprisingly absorbing, though, is writer/director Charles Burnett’s close attention to detail which infuses stark realism and breathes life into every scene. It’s also worth mentioning the very well-chosen musical score which adds some liveliness. Killer of Sheep is a simple and absorbing “slice of life” movie which looks beautiful in black-and-white color.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: None, other than that even people with a wife, kids, a home and a job can lead a mundane life.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 0
IN A NUTSHELL: An absorbing, timeless, unforgettable slice of life.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater.
The "K" Menu