9/10 While the work of August Wilson has been recently adapted from the stage play to the big screen with “Fences” and more recently, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, the latter I found to be disappointing and only a real showcase for the acting. “One Night in Miami”, an adaptation of the Kemp Powers stage play, is what those other movies wish they could be. Where those Wilson adaptations felt better suited for the stage, “One Night in Miami” works as a film, partly due to multiple locations traversed to in the film, as opposed to the largely lone locations of those other movies. Powers adapts his own play and gives us what might be the best screenplay of 2020 while Regina King makes her directorial debut here and knocks it out of the park. Since this is a dialogue driven film, it could have turned out boring or dry in the hands of a less skilled film maker. Yet King, using years of her acting experience on film sets, is able to take the electric screenplay and add life to it with some of the best blocking I’ve seen in recent memory. For a film with lots of men just talking, King is always providing movement at the right moments to keep things lively and then knows when to slow things down and have characters just sitting and talking for an emotional moment. She shows great maturity as a director and I’m excited to see what she does next. The script covers a fair amount of ground but does so without talking down to the audience, shaming any non-black viewers and getting its point across in a poignant way. Spike Lee could take a lesson or two from this kind of screenwriting. The acting is easily some of the best of the year and while all four men put in phenomenal work, it was Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X, who really stole the show for me. Playing a role that has been performed previously by acting legend Denzel Washington is no small feat but Ben-Adir makes it his own and 100% deserves the Oscar nomination, even though Leslie Odom Jr. got the Oscar nomination instead but was still fantastic. The dialogue was engaging, the music of Sam Cooke (and Bob Dylan) were appropriately used (and more importantly, not overused) and the production design, costume design and hair & make-up expertly recreated the 1960s period setting. The only minor negatives I could think of were that the score was slightly underwhelming/forgettable and the film starts slightly slow but once it kicks into high gear, it never lets up. These minor hiccups shouldn’t detract you from checking out one of the best films of 2020. The film puts King on the map as a director to be reckoned with and with his work on “Soul” and “One Night in Miami”, I am hoping to see a lot more of Powers moving forward as well. An important, must see film I highly recommend if you like dialogue driven films.

#FourBrothas / #MalcolmXInTheMiddle / #NowWeAreCookeing / #ClayOneStepAheadOfTheCompetition / #BrownAndOutOfTheNFL / #GreatsMotel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s