A strong debut from director Melina Matsoukas. She makes some choices here that pay off. Early on in the film she shoots both Daniel Kaluuya (one of our best actors in 2019) and Jodie Turner-Smith in isolation pointing the camera at just one of them at a time though they are talking and in the same car. It’s like a shot of Kaluuya and 50% of the frame is the car and space just outside his side of the car and vice versa. They are fighting, alone, on a bad first date… Chazelle does a similar thing during a big fight in La La Land editing it and shooting them in isolation. Later, when they come together, Matsoukas will shoot them together in one big overhead shot lying in bed
Bonnie and Clyde in the text—and the film certainly follows the proud lineage of You Only Live Once (Lang), Badlands (Malick), They Live By Night (from Nicholas Ray)
Matsoukas also makes a choice about giving us a characters’ dialogue via voice-over in a few key scenes. This isn’t inner monologue. This is what the character is actually (I think) saying the scene. But the lips don’t move. This is done at least 3 times and is a really effective touch and stylistic choice.
The cross and Christianity/religion in the text and mise-en-scene (dashboard, mortuary) in abundance. When they die—the two bodies make a cross. It’s clear—a strong motif
The single scene highlight is the dancing scene in the bar in Georgia. There are gorgeous greens and reds in the background, the camera is dancing with the two leads. A great romantic scene
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