Opening in theatres from director/director Annette Haywood-Carter and Ketchup Entertainment comes the true story of a life and time gone by in SAVANNAH.
This film tells the story of Ward Allan (James Caviezel), a man who lived on the river hunting ducks with his friend Christmas Moultrie (Chitwetel Ejiofor). Ward is an educated man who can quote Shakespeare and the knowledge of legal rhetoric to fight the law. Why? Because Ward Allan is a duck hunter and he supplies everyone with all different types of waterfowl and the law tries to stop him.
Christmas, once a slave on the plantation, tells the story to Jack (Bradley Whitford), a family member who must get the old man to leave as the land is being sold. He tells Jack how Ward swept Miss Lucy (Jaimie Alexander) off her feet to start a family life that he really wasn’t quite ready for.
He tells how the local towns people outwardly supported the law regarding duck hunting but had no problem hiring Ward to slip them a kill now and then. Trying to reconcile the old life with the new, Lucy gives Ward a pen and tells him to find another way to fight. What flows from pen to paper are beautiful words from a man who had his demons.
FINAL WORD: Caviezel is an actor who is soft spoken and largely seen. Happy with his life in a grumpy-old-man type way there is a method to his madness. His world is Shakespeare, his beloved river and duck hunting. Caviezel has the amazing ability to play that on the outside of this character while is facial pain shows the struggling with personal demons. That’s perhaps why love and friendship elude him.
Except for Ejiofor as Christmas, the one man who seems to understand the complexities of Ward. Telling the story to Whitford’s character Jack, it is clear that no one else could possibly understand the relationship these two men shared together. If Caviezel can show pain in his eyes, Ejiofor shows joy in his.
Alexander as Lucy is the woman from high society that lands Ward as a husband. It is clear she loves her husband but at the same time Alexander’s character is torn by the man she married and the man she was hoping he’d become because they were married.
Hal Holbrook plays Judge Harden impeccably as a man who understands Ward’s way of life but is also doing his job following the law. Sam Sheppard plays Mr. Stubbs, a father who wants the best for his only daughter believing it isn’t Ward Allan!
Other cast include: Tracey Walter as Mathias, Simone Griffeth as Mrs. Stubbs, John Elliot Ward as Stratton Leopold, Chip Lane as Cay Sr., Greyson Turner as Johnny Cay, Hal Holbrook as Judge Harden and Sam Shepard as Mr. Stubbs.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give SAVANNAH three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is truly a story that is surrounded by beauty, a time long gone and life on the river. The words spoken and read throughout the film are so distinct and ‘not a word out of place’. The cinematography is itself a character in the story with its vastness and sometimes emptiness that lived inside those who resided there.
Taken from Jack Cay, Jr’s book WARD ALLEN: SAVANNAH RIVER MARKET HUNTER, director Haywood-Carter finds a cast that grasp the concept of these characters. Caviezel’s courtroom scenes with the incomparable Hal Holbrook are what good acting are made of and Ejiofor telling the story to the end touches the heart.
In the end – he fights for freedom of the river life!