“One Night in Miami,” Regina King’s stunning direction, makes the symbol human

In “One Night in Miami”, director Regina King envisions grabbing a local liquor store on February 25, 1964, between four icons, Cassius Clay (Ellie Gore) and soul legend Sam Cook (Leslie Odom Jr.). A bottle. It’s a clear night, and they clash with a pair of youngsters who face Cook’s stunning sports car before exploding with glee to recognize the boxer of his first World Championship victory.

Cook sends the boys out with cash to buy something for themselves, and the pair sit for a moment in Cook’s fancy ride and process that for them to wait back in the hotel room where their two other companions, Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) and Malcon X (X) Kingsley Ben-Adir) are waiting.

Malcolm and Cook are far from an intense argument, with Firebrand accusing the crossover singer of failing to use his success to help the civil rights cause. The cook running the liquor store has a retreat; Back in his car expresses his disappointment for Clay.

Playing the role of an intelligent corner man for Cook’s fighter, Clay tells the singer to turn it down. Clay says, “We must be to each other. Because no one can understand what it is like to be one of us,” you know: young, black, righteous, famous, unapproachable. “

Such scenes and moments make it easy to understand why Regina King chose Kemp Power’s stage play as her directorial debut. The king may be the embodiment of that truth, a multi-Emmy, Golden Globe and Oscar winner who found his wings through projects that tell the world about his past, present and future.

Here King allows narrative ingenuity each frame as he stays behind the camera, drawing us inside this circle of legends, each of which represents different aspects of Black identity and conflict.

“One Night in Miami” is clearly about these men, and this is not the first work about three out of four of them. But this may be the first way we know the ways that have not been revealed in spite of both earlier and because they have a vision between the entry and exit points in Kemp which are confirming history.

The story is based on the night after Clay’s unexpected victory in February 1964 over reigning heavyweight champion Sunny Liston, a bout that attracted Brown, Cook and Malcolm to Miami, Florida to cheer him on. The next morning Clay confirmed his talk of Islam at a press conference, re-presenting himself as Cassius X. (He will not be officially known as Muhammad Ali until sometime later.) Like what happened during the time they spent together in the interim. , No recording exists.

But Kemp’s conjecture comes from a place of profound understanding of the burden of greatness and the unique diligence presented to a black man, like him, is also a legend. Kemp writes this thesis for his personal personalities, and King shapes them as men, not for the screen.

The victory of Cassius Clay is merely an important moment associated with the gathering which Kemp presents as an atheistic point where many histories meet.

With much of the action in a modest motel room in its 114-minute runtime, King and cinematographer Tammy Reeker can’t help but emphasize the physical and spiritual closeness of these men as a bond to Malcolm’s passion Serve in, reinforcing the tie in some scenes. And divided into others. While the setting may be easy, Reiker makes the interior a film with a sparkle and exterior with figures bouncing off, as do Clay and Cook, or regrouped.

Malcolm would make a pilgrimage to Mecca and publish his memoirs shortly thereafter, and he would be murdered a year after their meeting. Jim Brown’s first starring role in a film marked the same year that he began an acting career that lasted several decades during and after his professional football career. Sam Cook was already a successful hitmaker who would release “A Change Is Gonna Come” in 1964 the same year. . . And sadly will be killed by a motel manager in December.

Kemp makes use of the fact that Brown’s first film and Cook’s stirring social justice piece also surfaced in 1964 with tense directions that led to many conversations.

Malcolm knows that he is being followed. Sam is rich and famous, and cannot book his room in the fancy hotel where he is staying. Brown is a record holder in the NFL and according to the pride of his hometown, a white considered friend of the family, whom he watches when the film starts. The man, played by Beau Bridges, nods and smiles broadly, as he shows the athlete with laughter, and seems just as polite when he refuses her at his house, using an inhumane epithet Sweet as the peach nectar of his tongue.

Hodge, it must be said, displays his astounding talent for blurring his character’s spirit through his eyes and face even as he is quietly speaking his lines. That silent expression continuously empowers all the best performances, and in it adds a warmth and a melancholy to it that attracts your attention when it comes to your attention.

The personal nature of these negotiations, even at their harsh times, always returns to the timeless question of what a successful and famous owl is to those who are struggling without the benefit of fame. This is a film to keep in mind that celebrity only frees Black Stars to a limited degree and, in some cases, accelerates targets on their backs.

Based on this, “One Night in Miami” is a showcase for its artists. Where most historical narratives extend the documentation for storytelling, and where actors can consult photographs or video footage to sculpt their depictions, the film finds life in projections that are far from the public, from cameras , Where they have no need to show up.

In doing so, actors, writers, and directors prioritize humanity among these men, while opposing presenting another impersonation of an icon.

This approach is most evident on the entertainment of Blond’s Clay and Ben-Adir’s Malcolm, two figures played by two of Hollywood’s biggest black stars. Actors maintain distinct identities of each person for us to recognize the different manners of our speaking, but they expand on familiar curves and edges in common perceptions to understand how they were and how they were in a quiet environment Could behave.

The Whites are playing a version of the boxing legend yet newly devoid of humility. Ben-Adir, who recently played Barack Obama in Showtime’s “The Comey Rule”, contrasted Malcolm with his mortality and the danger of speaking the truth to white America. It gives a gentle approach to his performance, showing Malcolm as a father and a husband that was concerned in the direction of conflict and danger.

But here the actor steps into Malcolm’s gentle obsession rather than taking inspiration from the face that has emerged from photographs in history books and enriches the character in a new way.

However, Odom steals the spotlight in an instant when it seems as if Malcolm is set on throwing him into the dirt. When Malcolm follows Bob Dylan’s blunt dismissal of his biggest hit by playing the role of “Blowin ‘in the Wind” and asks him why a white person is writing a song that does a better job of talking to Black people If he does, he kicks the Okis out. The chair where he is taking it and turning it around: Why can’t Malcolm focus its attention on business investment, ownership and expansion? And not as important to uplifting black Americans as words and songs? Odom recited it with the energy of pushing the gladiator to death, and it is incredible to see.

The conflict forms only a small part of “One Night in Miami”, yet another blessing King gives us in making this film. There are many black films inspired by history that are painfully colored and so few that ease and safely rest in celebration, leaving the audience with a sense of joy and pride.

At one point, one of them believes that Black Power, a phrase white Americans fear, is not offensive or offensive. Shakti means a world where we are safe to be ourselves, he says. This King is harnessing his power as a director for the first time, and what we have seen makes us excited to plug in future endeavors.

“One Night in Miami” is currently streaming on Amazon.

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