(director/writer: Abi Damaris Corbin; screenwriter: Kwame Kwei-Armah/based on an article by Aaron Gell; cinematographer: Doug Emmett; editor: Chris Witt; music: Michael Abels; cast:John Boyega (Brian Brown-Easley), Michael Kenneth Williams (Eli Bernard), Nicole Beharie (Estel Valerie), Selenis Leyva (Rosa Diaz), Olivia Washington (Cassandra Brown-Easley), London Covington (Kiah Easley), Connie Britton (Lisa Larson), Jeffrey Donovan (Major Riddick, SWAT); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Salman Al-Rashid/Mackenzie Fargo/Sam Frohman/Ashley Levinson/Kevin Turen; Bleecker Street; 2022)
“It’s a fine film. Though humorless it speaks with passion and truth to today’s issues between the vets and the military.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The drama is based on a true story in 2017 that took place in Marietta, Ga., when an ex-marine, the African-American Brian Brown-Easley (John Boyega), held-up a bank because of grievance issues the veteran had with the military. It’s directed and written by the female filmmaker Abi Damaris Corbin (“Actors Anonymous”), and co-written by British playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah that’s based on an article by Aaron Gell. Its hostage bank robbery tale reminds one of Lumet’s factual 1975 thriller “Dog Day Afternoon.”
On a day in July the ex Marine Easley, on the verge of becoming homeless when denied an $892 government assistance check, took two hostages Nicole Beharie and Selenis Leyva in a bank robbery and acted like a crazy man with law enforcement and the news media who were covering the crime scene, shouting out to them while on a phone “I need to be on camera.”
The social conscience drama updates how the military’s rigidness paves the way for violent acts. Though Easley’s actions are not excused, he’s still portrayed in a sympathetic light.
The unnerved hostages Nicole Beharie and Selenis Leyva give frantic performances. The film is carried by the mesmerizing performance of John Boyega. While Michael Kenneth Williams, in his last performance as the caring hostage negotiator, is brilliant.
It’s a fine film. Though humorless it speaks with passion and truth to today’s issues between the vets and the military.
REVIEWED ON 9/7/2022 GRADE: B