Via Prime Video
Four famous friends in moments of questioning both their personal and professional lives, convene together in 1970’s Miami to leave their troubles behind for the night. Muhamed Ali (Eli Goree), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), Malcom X (Kingsly Ben-Adir), and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) explore each other’s struggles through long, passionate, tedious conversations in various hotel rooms ranging from a five-star penthouse to a discrete motel all guarded by two eaves dropping body guards. It’s a never-ending disagreement about race, religion, and personal achievements, reminiscent of moderating a meaningless fight between two drunk friends on a Friday night. The topics they talk about are obviously important, especially now, but honestly it felt drawn out and over directed leaving me wanting so much more.
This adapted screen play (Kemp Powers) has a slow start and is perhaps only compelling to those who know these four men’s stories in great detail, but for those of us only briefly aware of their journeys and wanting to learn more, it was hard to fully understand what was going on. Symmetry ruled the cinematography giving every scene a venire, though beautiful, staged feeling instead of resembling anything close to real life. The acting feels forced and almost too focused on recreating these idols instead of playing them as real, uniquely interpreted characters. Lighting, tones, and textures were used to tell the internal story of every character giving the actors much needed assistance in telling these men’s legendary stories. The soundtrack, carried mostly by Leslie Odom Jr., was full of life and award worthy performances. I would certainly expect a Globe nom to be awarded to Odom only and rightfully due to his musical performances. The most exciting and entertaining portion of the film was the last twenty minutes and could have, well, should have been the rest of the movie.
I was truly excited to see Regina King’s newest project as I think she’s a force to be reckoned with. However, I was disappointed by her directing style this time around because it felt like her talents are still in the developmental phase with the over produced, over styled, and over acted demonstrations. I will always be a King fan and look forward to seeing her next project. If you enjoys movies like “Just Mercy” or “ the Trial of the Chicago 7”, this might be something you’d enjoy. Otherwise, skip it and watch “Promising Young Woman” instead.