TCFF Day 3: Tom Sizemore shines in comedic role in White Knight

Day 3 starts with a White Knight panel at Double Tree Hotel with special guest Tom Sizemore and his two Mexican co-stars Hector Jimenez and Olga Segura.

The Detroit-born Sizemore is one of Hollywood’s best character actors, more prominently in tough guy roles in films like True Romance, Saving Private Ryan, Natural Born Killers, and Heat, among others. He’s one of those actors who have that sense of danger about him that is authentic, which makes him the perfect go-to-guy for bad ass roles. He’s of course, known also for his troubled personal life, to the point of joining Celebrity Rehab show. Even just a day before he arrived in Twin Cities, he was briefly jailed on a battery warrant.

He seemed to be in a good mood for the panel however, wearing a black Nirvana t-shirt, he was actually pretty chatty. It was a jovial and lively discussion on making the film, how they got into their characters, etc. You can see the video of the panel here and at the TCFF YouTube Channel.

Sizemore also shared some of his experience working with great directors like Michael Mann and Steven Spielberg, whom he had nothing but praise. He called Spielberg the nicest person he’s ever worked with, saying that the director is still grounded despite his success and legendary status. He was also candid when being asked whether he prefers to do studio films or independent ones. Without hesitation he said he’d rather get paid a couple of million dollars doing a small role in a big movie because the pay from those films are what enable him to do small movies like White Knight which offers creative freedom. It sounds like there needs to be a balance of both in any actor’s career.

White Knight Mini Review

The White Knight Cast – Chris McDuffie Photography

White Knight (recently renamed Cellmates) is a comedy about redemption. Like 50/50 which takes a non-laughing-matter subject like cancer and made a comedy out of it, White Knight also deals with a controversial subject matter of racism. The lead character is Leroy Lowe (Sizemore, natch!), a Grand dragon of the Texas Ku Klux Klan who’s serving a three-year sentence and comes out a changed man.

The comedic style of relative newbie director Jesse Baget kind of reminds me of the Coen Brothers, not sure if that’s intentional or not but it certainly had that vibe to me. It’s a simple story that works because of Sizemore’s expressively whimsical portrayal. Leroy is obviously not a likable man by profession but you can’t help but being sympathetic and even like his character. Sizemore shines in this audacious comedic role — his expressive face is as funny as the dialog. Whether he’s in rage, surprised, enamored or even bored to death listening to his warden talks about his beloved potato farm, he’s a joy to watch.

You could say that Sizemore carries the film but Jimenez as his hilarious, frizzy-haired cellmate and Stacy Keach as his potato-lovin’ warden deliver lots of laughs as well. I’m not sure about Segura’s acting however, but she wasn’t really given much to do than throwing a longing look or two at Sizemore’s character. This is her first acting role but on the panel she said she’s in a few upcoming films in the works, also starring fellow cast-member Jimenez.

I really enjoy the film a heck of a lot more than I thought it would be, I’d love to see Sizemore do more comedic roles in the future. I definitely recommend this film to fans of Coens’ comedies and/or Sizemore’s performance.

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels

Are you interested in this film? If you’re a fan of Tom Sizemore, what’s your favorite role of his?

8 thoughts on “TCFF Day 3: Tom Sizemore shines in comedic role in White Knight

  1. Y’know, it would be great to see Sizemore make a comeback. He’s a really talented actor, like Robert Downey Jr., who has suffered with substance abuse for a good many years. I’d like to see ‘White Knight’ when it comes available. Great post, Ruth.

    1. Hi Michael, I hope he’ll get more prominent roles too. Perhaps even a TV series built around him, he’s a really talented guy with great screen presence, I hope he can rise above all his past substance abuse problems and have a lasting acting career.

  2. I wasn’t sure about White Knight from the trailer but thanks for your review Ruth, I think I’ll check it out. I’ve never been a huge fan of Tom Sizemore but I really enjoyed the press conference and he’s gone up in my estimation. His anecdotes about De Niro and working with Spielberg on Saving Private Ryan are great.

  3. Ted S.

    I really wish I was there to see Sizemore in person. He’s a such talented actor, it’s just too bad he can’t seems to get rid of his personal issues. Hopefully this film will give him another shot at becoming a mainstay in big Hollywood films again.

  4. I’ve always kept track of Sizemore cos he’s from my hometown. I wish he could stay out of jail/trouble. So much talent. Glad you enjoyed the film, I’ll have to check it out.

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