Preview: Native Son

Native Son

A screen adaptation of Richard Wright’s seminal novel was always going to be a tricky balance given its focus on the racial, cultural and social divides and the illusion of the ‘American dream’ – which is probably why it has only been tried a couple of times since it was published in 1940.

HBO has bitten the bullet and delivered a feature-length drama that is a loose, loose modern-day interpretation of the novel’s main themes. Ashton Sanders (Moonlight) plays Bigger, a young black man who takes a live-in job with a wealthy white family as a means to escape the destructive criminal pathway his friends are intent on taking. He’s ambitious and intelligent and believes he has what it takes to get above the noise of the south Chicago streets but circumstances and his own naivety set tumbling a disastrous cascade of events.

Directed by visual artist Rashid Johnson, Native Son is part American parable and part denunciation of the superficiality of ‘woke’ liberal society.

Native Son – Tuesday at 10.10pm on Sky Atlantic and NowTV.