Monday, January 11, 2021

One Night in Miami Review: Great Actors Play Legends In This Inspiring Drama

Kingsley Ben-Adir	...	Malcolm X Eli Goree	Eli Goree	...	Cassius Clay Aldis Hodge	Aldis Hodge	...	Jim Brown Leslie Odom Jr.	Leslie Odom Jr.	...	Sam Cooke Lance Reddick	Lance Reddick	...	Kareem X Christian Magby	Christian Magby	...	Jamaal Joaquina Kalukango	Joaquina Kalukango	...	Betty X Nicolette Robinson	Nicolette Robinson	...	Barbara Cooke Michael Imperioli	Michael Imperioli	...	Angelo Dundee Lawrence Gilliard Jr.	Lawrence Gilliard Jr.	...	Drew 'Bundini' Brown Derek Roberts	Derek Roberts	...	Jerome X Beau Bridges	Beau Bridges	...	Mr. Carlton Emily Bridges	Emily Bridges	...	Emily Carlton Amondre D. Jackson	Amondre D. Jackson	...	L.C. Cooke Jerome A. Wilson	Jerome A. Wilson	...	Elijah Muhammad (as Jerome Wilson)

Release date: January 15, 2020
Running time: 114 minutes
Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Joaquina Kalukango, Nicolette Robinson with Beau Bridges and Lance Reddick
Directed by Regina King
Written by Kemp Powers

On one incredible night in 1964, four icons of sports, music, and activism gathered to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. When underdog Cassius Clay, soon to be called Muhammad Ali, (Eli Goree), defeats heavy weight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall, Clay memorialized the event with three of his friends: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge).  Based on the award-winning play of the same name, and directed by Regina King, One Night In Miami is a fictional account inspired by the historic night these four formidable figures spent together. It looks at the struggles these men faced and the vital role they each played in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the 1960s. More than 40 years later, their conversations on racial injustice, religion, and personal responsibility still resonate.

Director: Regina King Writers: Kemp Powers (screenplay by), Kemp Powers (based on the stage play "One Night In Miami..." by)        Jess Wu Calder	...	producer (produced by) (p.g.a.) Keith Calder	...	producer (produced by) (p.g.a.) Paul O. Davis	...	executive producer Chris Harding	...	executive producer Regina King	...	executive producer Jody Klein	...	producer (produced by) (p.g.a.) Kemp Powers	...	executive producer
One Night in Miami takes place in the 1960s and has a wonderful setting and entertaining style.  The movie has an authentic 60s feel, with bright colors and classic clothing, cars, and technology.  The four actors playing these iconic characters really personify them.  I loved the different personalities that came through in these portrayals; each character fully transformed for this role.  And although each of the leads did a fantastic job, I think Kingsley Ben-Adir was the most impressive as Malcolm X.  He had a charismatic, emphatic, and sometimes zealous style that was so inspiring and interesting to watch.  Eli Goree as Muhammad Ali also does a great job and definitely looks the part of a heavyweight boxer.  Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown had an interesting, thoughtful persona and he had one scene that was so painful to watch.  And Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke embraced the performer's charisma and flash, but also showed that there was much more going on under the hood.

And as you would expect from a movie based on a play, the writing is so well done.  It is sharp, funny, entertaining, and will keep you enthralled even though much of the film takes place with these iconic figures talking in a hotel room.  It is so strange that not much happens in this movie and yet so much does.  The expressions, ideas, and truths that come to light during these conversations really are profound, and are sadly relevant even to this day.  So what you have are very good actors fully personifying iconic figures and delivering some really fantastic dialogue.  Altogether this film is an entertaining and enlightening story about the different approaches of combatting racism and fighting for equality.  Although there are different styles showcased in this film, and some are more firey than others, the overall message is that these men used their gifts to better the entire black community.  And director Regina King should be given a lot of credit for making this such a great experience and translating the play onto the screen.  You can tell that this movie had play roots, from the length of the scenes to the richness of the dialogue, but a lot of credit goes to the director for making sure that it was first and foremost an interesting film!

One Night in Miami highlights four great actors as four iconic figures, with sharp, funny, and still relevant dialogue and a slow burning, emotional, and inspiring story.  

Watch it.

Icons Figures Muslim Nation of Islam Boxing Singing Entertaining Black Film Play Playwright

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One Night in Miami is available on Amazon Prime Video on January 15, 2020.

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