Picks and Pans Review: Always Outnumbered

UPDATED 03/16/1998 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/16/1998 at 01:00 AM EST

HBO (Sat, March 21, 9 p.m. ET)

A

HBO calls this superlative episodic drama a modern urban fable. Appropriately, Laurence Fishburne gives a fabulous performance as Socrates Fortlow, an unemployed ex-convict with murder and rape in his past, who tries—heroically if imperfectly—to construct a moral, meaningful life on the streets of Los Angeles's depressed Watts area. In adapting his book Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned for television, Walter Mosley (Devil in a Blue Dress) has changed the protagonist's age from "close to 60" to late 40s, a better fit for the 36-year-old star. Fishburne's Socrates seems to carry the burden of long, hard-gained experience on his brawny shoulders, and his face mirrors a constant, tiring struggle to control his rage and understand his role in a harsh world. As he evolves into a sort of latter-day knight errant, Socrates takes on a rough-edged nobility without losing a capacity for violence that disturbs us even when he unleashes it for a good cause, like protecting an 11-year-old boy from bullies seeking to shut his mouth about a murder he witnessed. The fine supporting cast includes Natalie Cole as Iula, a sensible diner owner who offers Socrates sustenance, and Bill Cobbs as Right Burke, a dying friend who leaves him with a bit of wisdom and a blessing.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters