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The Day Shall Come
Review by Rich Cline |
dir Chris Morris
scr Jesse Armstrong, Chris Morris
prd Iain Canning, Anne Carey, Derrin Schlesinger, Emile Sherman
with Marchant Davis, Anna Kendrick, Danielle Brooks, Denis O'Hare, Kayvan Novak, Andrel McPherson, Malcolm M Mays, Mousa Kraish, Jim Gaffigan, Adam David Thompson, Michael Braun, James Adomian, Rodney Richardson
release US 27.Sep.19,
19/UK Film4 1h27
After Four Lions, Chris Morris continues to take on current affairs with another pitch-black comedy. This one tells a slapstick story with hilarious characters and dialog, and yet it's also a deeply sad story about injustice. The big topics swirling around include terrorism, police overreach and, most pungently of all, racial inequality in the United States. These things are so strong that they almost throw the nuttiness out of balance.
In Miami, Moses (Davis) wants to form an army to take on the "accident of European dominance". But he only has four members, and his wife Venus (Brooks) is getting tired of not being able to pay the rent. So Moses and his two sidekicks (McPherson and Mays) use local shopkeeper Reza (Novak) to contact jihadist Malik (Kraish) for support. But both Reza and Malik are actually FBI informants, and Moses' refusal to use guns makes him hard to sting. So the agents (including Kendrick and O'Hare) devise another crazy scam involving rogue nukes.
The film has a goofy charm simply because character is utterly hopeless. Most are naively so, getting in deeper than expected either by making silly mistakes or by being manipulated by people seeking political or financial gain. In this sense, the story itself becomes a parable of the historical interaction between people of European, African and Middle Eastern origin. And it's difficult to maintain the wackiness as events suddenly turn dark.
Because the characters are generally likeable, the actors have fun with them, especially as they react to events that push them into corners. Davis is so deadpan as Moses that almost everything he says is hilarious, especially if it involves McPherson and Mays. And Brooks has several great moments all her own. Meanwhile, Kendrick is the only decent person among the officials, surrounded by men who don't care about anyone. Her dialog is howlingly pithy, especially as she banters with O'Hare.
It's a bit difficult to know what to do with this film. Much of what happens on screen is played for laughs, with snappy one-liners, uproarious situations and some lively physical comedy. So when the deeper topics swirl up, they kind of push the air right out of the film: it's no longer just entertaining, now it's cautionary and deeply disturbing. Then with an abrupt ending, it becomes a razor-sharp satirical jab at society. And Morris deliberately leaves us in pain.
R E A D E R R E V I E W SStill waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
© 2019 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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