Synopsis: The murder of an African American youth in rural Alabama has gone unpunished, unsolved and uninvestigated for almost twenty years. But that changes when Nashville Times reporter Matt Harper meets an idealistic blue blood bent on discovering the truth. Harper undertakes the investigation despite the opposition of his publisher, violent threats from mysterious forces, a break-up with his fiancee and his father's cancer diagnosis. Deadline is a story of murder, family, race, and of redemption - for a small Southern town and for Matt Harper.
Director(s): Curt Hahn
Production: Independent Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
95 min

You may have the grace

to look up and out

And into your sister's eyes

And into your brother's face,

your country...

and say simply, very simply,

with hope, good morning.

Maya Angelou, On the Pulse of

Morning, which she read

At president Clinton's

inauguration last month.

Come on, Vanessa,

that was too easy.

Ever, did you ever

sit down and wonder,

What freedom's freedom

would bring?

It's so easy to be free.

You start by loving yourself.

Nikki Giovanni,

Walking Down Park.

And Nikki Giovanni

went to Fisk.

Yeah, but what if you could

go to Harvard or Princeton?

Fisk was there for us when

Harvard and Princeton weren't,

And it's also closer to mama.

Your mama's strong. She'll be

just fine without you.

I'm all she's got left.

Beyond reason,

I'm attached to you,

The feeling of your touch,

my grandmother's soft skin,

Seeing in your eyes our unborn,

Smelling mama's kitchen

in your hair, family to be.

That's beautiful. Who wrote it?

Wallace Samson, family to be.

I wrote it for you.

Thank you.

I love you.

I love you, Wallace Samson.

A subtitle by R3VOLV3R.

Fire Matt Harper!

That's him! That's Matt Harper!

Fire Matt Harper!

It actually wasn't

that bad a story.

Yeah, well, I'm not the one

who wrote the headline

And then decided to only use

pictures of black people.

Matt, hightail it down to Amos.

Someone shot the police chief.

On it.

Supposed to have a good

barbecue joint there.

Teddy's barbecue,

the best in town.

"Come on, y'all. "

"The taste of life

is oh, so sweet. "

"They're finding money

in the street. "

"Some folks can live a life

that's charmed. "

"Some folks can

go through hell unharmed. "

"The taste of life

is oh, so sweet"

"But hard luck days

have caught me"

"In a corner full of kill. "

"So why does the road

seem the hardest when uphill?"

"I want a break that I don't

have to make. "

"I want a break that

I don't have to make. "

"I want a break

that I don't have to make. "

"I want a break that

I don't have to make. "

"I want a break

that I don't have to make. "

What are you looking at, huh?

Now, now, now,

it's all right, Emma Jean.

It's all right.

I'm sorry for your loss.

I understand the chief

was your dad.

Have you no decency?

Just doing my job, sir.

Well, I'm just doing mine.

Why don't you boys escort

this vulture out of town?

Are you serious?

I have a right to be here.

So sue me. I'm a judge.


Such a shame, Matt.

They've got you all wrong.

Okay, I get the message.

Hey. What?

The wedding planner was today.

Uh, what are you...?

Delana. What?

Delana. Delana, hang on.

Never a good sign

when they take the key.

- Hey, Delana.

- Hey, Walker.

Hey, Matt, you got a...

you got a minute?

Hey, uh, yeah, sure.

This is Trey Hall.

Everett Hall the third,


Matt Harper the first.

What brings you to The Times?

I live in Amos, Alabama.

I saw you there yesterday.

I have some information you

might be interested in.

Oh, uh, great.


So, what do you know about

chief Peringer's murder?

Nothing. I'm here about

a different murder.


Wallace Sampson,

A 15-Year-Old black kid,

shot in the head.


By the store,

Right near where chief Peringer

was killed.

- When?

- 19 years ago.

That's what I'm trying

to figure out,

But no one wants to talk.

No, no, no. I mean,

why... why... why now?

I was nine then.

You were probably in diapers.

Why do you care?

Wallace was the son of our

housekeeper, Mary Pell Sampson.

I knew Mary Pell lost a son,

But I didn't know until recently

that he had been murdered.

So, why come to me?

I need help.

The local

authorities are a joke.

We don't have

a real newspaper in Amos.

Plus, my father is seriously

hassling me

For getting into this.

The Wallace's shooting

Is still an open wound

in the black community.

It bothers them

that no one cares.

It should bother you too.

"We're travelin', travelin'"

This is Delana.

Leave a message.

Hey, honey, I'm really sorry.

I'm gonna be tied up

on a story all weekend,

But I'll see you Sunday.

"When the daylight's done. "

"This road is weary but

our work has just begun. "

"Come and go with me

down behind the sun. "

Windrow started

as a cotton plantation.

My great-Great-Great grandfather

bought it after the civil war.

I've been in and out

of schools up north,

But that house

is where I grew up.

I live in the left wing now

And my dad lives

in the extreme right.

My father likes to hunt birds,

but I like to hunt plants.

Plants and a cold case murder?

Mm mm.

Funny combination of interests.

Actually, they have

a lot in common.

Solving Wallace's murder

Is like finding a plant

I can't identify.

I can't stop until I do.

There's someone

I want you to meet

Who was here

when Wallace was killed.

It's been 19 years since

Wallace was killed

And it's still a devil that

won't be exorcized,

So it was no surprise

When black people want to know

who killed Wallace,

But when a white person does...

especially a Hall...

well, that's something


Tell me what happened.

Well, it started out as some

bottles and rocks being thrown.

Police had to break it up.

The next night,

everything had quieted down

And Wallace was walking home

When he was gunned down

in cold blood.

You know why they shot him?

Sure, black kid

at the wrong place.

Let me show you something.

You see this cross?

It means a lot

to my congregation.

They call it

the lynching cross.

See, back in 1932, the Klan

lynched a black kid

Who was accused of

attacking a white Amos girl.

There was no trial.

They just hung him

from an oak tree.

Well, the boy's daddy

cut that tree down

And made that cross out of it.

You see, he could deal

with what happened

If he thought his son

died on a cross,

But it's time we get beyond it.

What do you mean,

"get beyond it"?

Well, to my congregation,

That cross is a symbol of

justice in the next life,

But to me, it's still

just a lynching tree,

And I hate that cross.

Miss Trey, what are you doing

on this side of town?

I'm sorry to bother you

on a Saturday, Mary Pell.

This is Matt Harper.

He's a reporter from Nashville.

Mary Pell raised me.

We'd like to speak with you

about Wallace.

Thank you.

Wallace was

a straight "a" student.

He never missed school

or church.

I told him not to be out late,

and he said, "yes, ma'am. "

Then, uh, reverend young

came to the door

And he told me

Wallace had been shot.

They took him to the hospital

but he had already passed.

I wanted to see him,

but they wouldn't let me.

I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm sorry to make you relive it.

I relive it every day.

You can't hurt me, Mr. Harper.

I've already been hurt

the worst there is.

Tell me, Mr. Big city

newspaper reporter,

What do you write about?

Whatever I'm assigned.

Does it pay well?

Not at all.

Then why do it?

To make a difference,

Comfort the afflicted and

afflict the comfortable.

Do they make you

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Mark Ethridge

Mark Ethridge (born May 28, 1949) is a novelist, screenwriter, and communications consultant. His novel Grievances was released in 2006, and adapted into the 2012 film Deadline. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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