The Public

The Public

(2019)

A sit-in by patrons at a public library escalates into a police standoff in this David versus Goliath drama directed by, and starring, Emilio Estevez.... More

"It begins quietly enough in a Cincinnati library on a winter's day. Stuart (Estevez) and Myra (Jena Malone) do their best to manage the daily assortment of knowledge seekers, loiterers, and homeless people who frequent their branch. It's freezing outside. As closing time draws near, Jackson (The Wire's Michael K. Williams) sparks an act of civil disobedience among his fellow library patrons who have nowhere to sleep. They refuse to leave, defying first the entreaties of the library staff, then a local political operative (Christian Slater), and soon a team of riot police led by Detective Ramstead (Alec Baldwin), a hard-charging crisis negotiator. Outside, a TV reporter (Gabrielle Union) juices up the story for the wider world." (Toronto International Film Festival)Hide

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The Press Reviews

  • The dialogue often has a stilted, unnatural ring to it, and it is a tribute to the cast that they manage to bring out the essence of the film, its political heart, so strongly. Full Review

  • Consistently engages despite the relative obviousness of its dramatic tactics. Full Review

  • Estevez does an elegant job with this setup, creating a low-key, uncondescending portrait of lives on the edge. Full Review