Phenomenal veteran actress Regina King (Jerry Maguire, Ray, If Beale Street Could Talk) has her directorial feature debut – One Night in Miami…
Kemp Powers adapts his own stage play for the screenplay (he’s having a big 2020 with this and Soul – which he also co-directed)
It is a fictional work but based on a true meeting between four of the most important (and talented) figures of the second-half of the 20th century: Malcom X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), Cassius Clay (Eli Goree), and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom, Jr.)
It takes place, like the title says, during one night in Miami – February 1964 and it is slightly reminiscent of another specific meeting conversational film- My Dinner With Andre (from Malle). The debate and discourse is amazing throughout– dialogue that absolutely sings (speaking of “singing”—yes that is Leslie Odom Jr.’s actual voice doing Sam Cooke)
In the first 17-minutes each character is introduced separately—each feeling the cold sting of prejudice. Clay is booed during a match at Wembley, Cooke gets a cold racist welcome at the Copa, Beau Bridges’ character keeps Jim Brown on his front porch despite the fake smile and pleasantries, — after the introductions we get the title card- a nice touch
It is limited cinematically by what you think a film based on a play and directed by an actor would be. But again, the writing is sharp, and the performances moving. Each actor is given their turn to showcase their gifts.
Ends with a montage of “A Change is Gonna Come”—I’m no music critic but it certainly doesn’t get much better than Sam Cooke
It’s not a big deal but this film’s name has 3 dots at the end.
[…] One Night in Miami…– R. King […]