Hoping that self-employment through gig economy can solve their financial woes, a hard-up UK delivery driver and his wife struggling to raise a family end up trapped in the vicious circle of this modern-day form of labour exploitation.
A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.
Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.
Set in 1825, Clare, a young Irish convict woman, chases a British officer through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. On the way she enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past.
An impoverished preacher who brings hope to the Miami projects is offered cash to save his family from eviction. He has no idea his sponsor works for the FBI who plan to turn him into a criminal by fueling his madcap revolutionary dreams.
Cameo: Mike Marshall, known for singing the chorus to "I Got 5 On It" and for the song "Rumors" with the Timex Social Club, makes a cameo appearance performing the song "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)". The film also has a nod to his famous performance as he jokingly starts to sing "I Got 5 On It" at the end of the scene. See more »
We are told repeatedly of the house's location at Golden Gate and Fillmore. When we first see the house, however, the camera pans away and we can see a street sign--it is somewhat blurred, but it clearly says "20th." Neither 20th St. nor 20th Ave. are anywhere near that location. Articles about the making of the film note that the house that provided exterior location shots is actually on So. Van Ness between 20th and 21st Streets. See more »
Well-Made, Thoughtful Yet Ever-So-Slightly Empty Drama
This independent drama on the effects of gentrification in San Francisco played to strong reviews at Sundance. It's also distributed by A24, and their films are generally very high-quality. Judging from its trailer, the film looked to be a mix of understatedly beautiful aesthetics (including some extraordinary cinematography of the Bay Area,) searing character drama, and social commentary. The film is generally well-made, and some aspects of it are undeniably impressive for a directorial debut.
The plot follows a man named Jimmie, whose grandfather built a house in San Francisco on land he purchased during World War II. Today, Jimmie wishes to live in this spacious Victorian house, but its market value has skyrocketed due to gentrification of the neighborhood (and nearby neighborhoods) near where it is located. He begins to develop a scheme with his best friend to move into the house. The film's cinematography is exceptional, and manages to juxtapose both realism and romanticism in terms of how it depicts both the ideals and the realities of San Francisco residents today. Some of the film's shots may remind viewers of Spike Lee's early films, but the film's aesthetic always feels wholly original at the end of the day. The film also uses a variety of other visual and narrative tricks, such as a tableaux vivant-style scene, to help convey the points it is trying to make on how gentrification is affecting relationships between people in urban areas today, much less exacerbating social inequality. The film's simple score is beautiful and almost haunting at times in terms of its elegance and emotional power. The performances in the film are generally strong, as the almost laid-back method acting of the two leads is thoughtful and impactful in its sheer simplicity.
Despite the film's clear achievements on a technical and narrative level that intersects strong performances with aesthetics, "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" isn't perfect. The film doesn't have too many key plot points, which would normally be okay given the film's understated tone. However, the film does feel rather drawn-out in that the narrative doesn't always impact even scenes in which the director is trying to promote substance over style. The narrative's climax is also a bit disappointing. It lacks a clear transition both preceding it and after it, and doesn't quite pack the impact on a viewer in which a film's climax should. That said, the ending is generally satisfying. Also, the film's social commentary is a bit of a mixed bag in that it shows the ways in which gentrification has affected San Francisco--yet it manages to reduce supporting characters both benefitting from and greatly harmed by gentrification to almost caricatures. As a result, the film's messaging on the perils of gentrification in cities comes up just a little short, and clearly falls below the effectiveness of social commentary in films like "Get Out." That said, there's definitely plenty to like about this indie drama. Generally recommended. 7/10
32 of 49 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this