By David R. Shumway
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Music is portrayed as important in the lives of both characters. We see Jill lip-synching “Stop in the Name of Love,” by the Supremes in her bedroom in front of a mirror. The Sheik is obsessed with Frank Sinatra, and his music is used diegetically in a number of scenes. But in Baby, It’s You popular records often function like classic film scores, serving to augment the emotional character of the scenes. Thus the film uses anachronistic Bruce Springsteen recordings from the 1970s to give us a sense of the Sheik’s world and his feelings.
The Brother follows this drug kingpin to his office in a Manhattan Critical Realist | 39 high rise, and finds him bagging his product for sale. The confrontation scene is effective in part because the Brother cannot speak, making Mr. Vance (Edward Baran) do all of the talking. He tries to buy off the Brother, saying “Whoever’s paying you isn’t paying you for this what I could. I’ve got an organization here. We’re diversifying. ” He is an oppressor not merely because he is a merchant of death, but because he exploits people to acquire capital.
The Critical Realist | 35 Brother finds a place of rest in Odell’s bar, where he meets a group of regulars who try to figure out his story but ultimately accept him despite their failure to do so. It is here we learn that the Brother is mute, but that he can hear and understand human language. Morton was widely praised for his ability to communicate his reactions without speaking them, and the film often reminds us of the pleasures of silent cinema. There is a bar scene in each of Sayles’s first four films, and comparing those scenes is revealing.