Friday, May 1, 2020

Review: All Day and a Night

Release date: May 1, 2020
Running time: 121 minutes
Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Ashton Sanders 

Brought to you by Joe Robert Cole, the co-writer of Black Panther, All Day and A Night is the story of Jahkor Abraham Lincoln (Sanders) who narrates a reflection of his life. Growing up in East Oakland, California exposed him to the life of gangs, drugs, and crime.  And although he believed that his dream of rapping was the solution to prevent falling into the influences around him, circumstances and responsibilities push him deeper into the wrong path with tragic consequences.  Despite his efforts and desire to never become like his dad J.D. (Wright), he ultimately ends up in a similar predicament.  However, Jah sets down a path of self discovery that might rectify his relationship with his father and ultimately break the seemingly unavoidable cycle for his newborn son.

All I can say is wow; what a film and what a powerful message. If you are not familiar with what life can be like for an African American youth in East Oakland, well this movie exposes you to it raw.  It lets you experience the sights and emotions of this type of upbringing.  The movie is filled with surreal scenes that authentically depict this area.  And on top of that, Jah's narration adds a layer of explanation on top of the fantastic visuals.  Another highlight was that the director Cole, a California native who grew up nearby and attended college in the same city, made sure that this movie was accurate and authentic.  From the music, wardrobe, dance, dialogue, parties depicted, and even the cars; everything was on point. 

Cole also did a great directing this phenomenal cast.  Ashton Sanders is truly a star and takes another step forward in his career with this film. His performance in All Day and a Night is equally comfortable and passionate.  He has high levels of intensity, but he can also draw it back emotionally when needed.  Sanders is complemented by the amazing Jeffery Wright who plays a character in a very dark emotional place.  As we know, Wright is a special actor who brings his intelligence, intensity, and experience to this film that elevates this to the next level.  The two really bring their best, and their emotional performances drive home the power of this film.  Whether you have experienced what they have or not, they bring a relatable, humanized performance that will touch you to the core.  The rest of the cast has plenty of up and coming and notable actors, such as Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who all do a fantastic job telling this powerful story.  

All Day and a Night uses its emotional characters, story, and authentic setting to deliver a powerful film with important underlying messages of self discovery and empathy.

Watch it.

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