Proud (2004) starring Ossie Davis, Albert Jones, Jeffrey Nash, Eric LaRay Harvey, Rashad Haughton, Stephen Rea, Aidan Quinn, Darnell Williams directed by Mary Pat Kelly Movie Review

Proud (2004)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Ossie Davis in Proud (2004)

Deserves More Pride

As I watched the movie "Proud" it reminded me of a scene in the movie "The Aviator" where Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes moans that the footage of planes he had filmed in the sky for a movie look static. That is one of the main problems with "Proud" because here we have a true story about the USS Mason, one of two destroyers during WWII which had a predominantly African-American crew. Now the purpose of this movie is in some ways similar to "Glory" to highlight these men who thought for their country despite facing constant prejudice but because this is a low budget movie which relies on old black & white footage for action scenes and is obviously filmed aboard a stationary vessel makes it look inferior.

The story to "Proud" starts in the now when Grampa Lorenzo DuFau (Ossie Davis) is woken by his Grandson and friends listening to what they call music but he calls noise. It leads into a nostalgic trip back as Lorenzo then tells them all about his experiences as a crew member aboard the USS Mason. His reminisces tell all about the dangers they faced, the U-boats they sunk the racism from some of the white officers as well as the welcome they got when they docked in Ireland despite one of the officers trying to stop their shore leave. It leads to his grandson campaigning for the men to be honoured for their heroics.

Now there is no denying that "Proud" has an important story to tell in the same way that the epic "Glory" had but this important story ends up destroyed by the production. As mentioned the various scenes which happen upon the USS Mason are very obviously filmed either in a studio or aboard a static ship. Then there are numerous historical inaccuracies which even someone who is as historically ignorant as myself can pick up on. Plus we have the obvious use of old b&w footage when it comes to action which just highlights the movie's poor production values. And there is a criminal amount of lack of subtlety going on which just feels like some one is pounding you with the unsubtle glove.

Despite a lot of production values which really hold it back it has to be said that the acting is not bad. The various young men who play the crewmen bring the camaraderie to the fore quite brilliantly and Ossie Davis's smooth tones work well as the narrator.

What this all boils down to is that "Proud" is disappointing but not because of the story but because of the production values drag it right back to the point of appearing corny far too often.