December 2002
Drumline : The Pulse of the Band

Reviewed by Natasha Grant

Drumline - The Pulse of the Band

Director: Charles Stone III
Screenwriter: Gina Prince-Blythewood, Tina Chism, Reginald Blythewood
Producer: Wendy Finerman, Jody Gerson, Tim Bourne
Cast: Nick Cannon, Orlando Jones, Zoe Saldana, Leonard Roberts
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Rated: PG-13
Opens: December 13
Official Site:


If you have ever attended college, know how to spell “college,” love music, or enjoy great cinema, you will find the movie Drumline irresistible. Absent: the excessive profanity and the all-too-familiar abrasive characters that regularly grace the screen. What we have in Drumline is a colorful tale of triumph with mass appeal. Directed by Charles Stone III (of “Whassup” Budweiser fame), Drumline is a wonderfully crafted story that centers on fictional Atlanta A & T University’s struggling marching band program headed by Dr. Lee, played by the talented Orlando Jones.

In addition to Jones, the cast includes Leonard Roberts, Jason Weaver, Zoe Saldana, J. Anthony Brown, Candace Carey, and Nick Cannon in the lead role as Devon Miles, a cocky kid from New York City who attends A & T on a drum scholarship. Devon, unfortunately, has one big problem: he marches to the beat of his own drum. Without revealing too much of the plot, Devon must come face-to-face with his limitations, realize the value of discipline and learn to play with his band mates, rather than against them.

Jam-packed with matters of honor, rivalry, bravado, musicianship, and renewal of hope, Drumline is, indeed, a rare find. It delves into a world that, perhaps, has never before been seen on the silver screen—the Black college marching band culture—and it has the exceptional quality of captivating an audience in its entirety.

Drumline is a fascinating story, brilliantly directed and successfully captures the breathtakingly complex, and competitive, high-energy feel of Black college marching band performances. Moreover, audiences will leave the theatre with a newfound respect for these bands, especially the pulsating drum line.



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