In “The Public” an unusually bitter Arctic blast has made its way to downtown Cincinnati and the front doors of the public library where the action of the film takes place. At odds with library officials over how to handle the extreme weather event, some homeless patrons turn the building into a shelter for the night by staging an “Occupy” sit in. What begins as an act of civil disobedience becomes a stand-off with police and a rush-to-judgment media constantly speculating about what’s really happening. This David versus Goliath story tackles some of our nation’s most challenging issues, homelessness and mental illness and sets the drama inside one of the last bastions of democracy-in-action: your public library.
This star-studded film follows the lives of the people who come in and out of a Cincinnati Public Library. Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, each character is fully fleshed out and complex even if they aren’t on-screen for very long. It’s carefully edited. You get a real sense of relationships and circumstance from the solid writing and stellar performances from this massive ensemble cast including Emilio Estevez, Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Taylor Schilling, Gabrielle Union, Michael K Williams, Christian Slater, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, and Jeffrey Wright. The film is about knowledge and power in the larger sense. It’s a thoughtful commentary on the socioeconomic dynamics of the homeless, the manipulative perceptions created by the media, and the politicians and law enforcement that allow it to happen. It’s filled with humor and heartbreak from beat to beat, and the twists are surprising and impactful. The Public has amazing storytelling and a truly poignant look at class warfare.
THE PUBLIC features veteran actors Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock,” The Departed, It’s Complicated), Emilio Estevez (
Universal Pictures Content Group will release THE PUBLIC in Theaters on April 5, 2019.