Businesstvguide

Stream It Or Skip It: ‘All Day and a Night’ on Netflix, an Introspective Drama About Fathers and Sons in Urban Oakland

Where to Stream:

All Day and a Night

Powered by Reelgood

Netflix movie All Day and a Night arrives with significant pedigree. The drama about life in the gang-ridden neighborhoods of Oakland is the first major motion picture from Joe Robert Cole, whose screenplay credits include Black Panther and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. His star is Ashton Sanders of Moonlight, supported by underrated powerhouse character actor Jeffrey Wright. Which leaves asking, does the movie live up to the potential of its talent?

Brisbane Structural Engineers Brisbane Structural Engineers

ALL DAY AND A NIGHT: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?

The Gist: Jah (Sanders) is piecing it all together. The movie opens at nighttime in a for-now peaceful neighborhood. He mutters a few raps he wrote, puts a 9mm in each hand, snakes through backyards and alleys and into a house, where he guns down a man and his wife in front of their young daughter. It’s cold. So cold.

Now he’s in court, listening to anguished statements from the victim’s mother. He’s processed by prison guards and officials. He walks into the yard and eyes the situation. He sees some old men at a table playing cards. He sees some young men gathered in groups. We soon learn that one of the old men is his father, JD (Wright).

Now he’s a kid in grade school. A bigger kid beats him up and takes his action figure. He goes home and his father beats him with a switch for getting beat up. The next day, he walks up behind the bully and clobbers him with a rock. He steps aside as his friends kick and kick and kick the kid. He gets suspended. His mother, Delanda (Kelly Jenrette), is furious — at him and at JD. JD is an addict and dealer.

Now it’s 13 months before the homicide. He’s making his way. He and his best friend TQ (Isaiah John) hold up two men and steal their gold jewelry. TQ pistolwhips one of them bloody. Jah has managed to avoid the drug game, but is always at its periphery. He hangs out in the basement, writing and recording beats and rhymes, and smoking weed with TQ. He has that dream, at least. He’s dating Shantaye (Shakira Ja’nai Paye), and they’re in love. She tells him she’s pregnant, and he’s overjoyed. He gets a job at a shoe store. His other close friend, Lamark (Christopher Meyer), joined the military to get out of the hood, but came back in a wheelchair. Jah is aimless and angry, his focus pulled from family and art to crime, by TQ, and a bigmouthed rapper named T-rex (James Earl), and local lord Big Stunna (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, of Aquaman fame). We already know what his outlet will be.

All Day and a Night
Photo: Everett Collection

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: All Day and a Night is firmly in the tradition of Menace II Society and Boyz n the Hood — but it doesn’t take the hood-struggle drama into new territory like Blindspotting or Fruitvale Station did.

Performance Worth Watching: Wright makes the most of his scenes from Jah’s youth, when the character writhes in turmoil beneath a tough-man facade.

Memorable Dialogue: Jah states the movie’s thesis via voiceover: “If you had all day and a night to understand your life, where would you begin?”

Sex and Skin: One scene of heavily implied fellatio.

Our Take: All Day and a Night is a sober and thoughtful rumination on the profound relationship between fathers and sons. It’s fruitful subject matter, but Cole doesn’t really have anything new to add to the conversation, and the thematic conclusion he reaches during the movie’s climax is a little muddled, and dramatically flat.

I’m not sure the flash-back-and-forth narrative structure is all that functional. It makes sense for Jah to use the naturally fractured mechanism of memory to reflect on the whys and hows of his dead-end life, and his need to break the circle of violence he fought, ultimately fulfilled and hopes to not perpetuate. Cole puts all his chips on Jah’s internal monologue, which tosses a maudlin blanket over scenes before they can get fully revved up. And supporting characters are frustratingly underdeveloped — JD’s late-life prison scenes lack cogency, and Jenrette and Regina Taylor’s respective mother and grandmother characters show only brief dynamic flashes.

More On:

Ashton Sanders

Will There Be A ‘Wu-Tang: An American Saga’ Season 2 On Hulu?

When Will ‘Wu-Tang: An American Saga’ Episode 5 Arrive On Hulu?

When Will ‘Wu-Tang: An American Saga’ Episode 4 Be On Hulu?

Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Wu-Tang: An American Saga’ On Hulu, A Fictionalized Retelling Of The Legendary Rap Group’s Beginnings

All this isn’t to say the film is a failure, and not worth watching. The performances are uniformly excellent and crucially, the tone is consistent. Cole executes some understated moments of visual poetry — at a warehouse/street party coursing with color and movement, and during a scene in which Jah urgently pedals a bicycle through the streets, unwittingly leading a vibrant and smiling crew of neighborhood children. Such moments are when the film shows dramatic potency, and truly engages in visual storytelling.

Our Call: STREAM IT. All Day and a Night is a flawed drama that doesn’t quite live up to its promise. But Cole’s ambition and skill renders it worthwhile viewing.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com or follow him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Stream All Day and a Night on Netflix




Source link

Tags

city guide

The publication focuses on fashion, style, and culture for men, though articles on food, movies, fitness, sex, music, travel, sports, technology, and books are also featured

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button
Skip to toolbar