Criticism | One Night in Miami – One of the 2021 Top Oscar Contestants Debuts on Amazon Prime

Their blood, ancestry and color are the inherent aspects that unite them. Born of the same race, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali were black men who over time were able to immortalize themselves as icons. Connected by their origins, but dispersed and quite distinct from each other in their personalities and lifestyles, these four men who have marked the North American and global darkness here play in a fictional tale based on real events, which would have been a dream to see. in real life. And in One Night in Miami, Regina King makes her directing debut with one of those bedside stories so iconic to hear, which awakens bold, curious musings and makes us imagine what it would have been like to experience at that moment. there that night in Miami.

This encounter between these four characters was brought to life beyond our imagination thanks to the hands of playwright Kemp Powers, who signs the play of the same name, as well as the script for the feature film. Here, X, Cooke, Brown and Ali are friends who share the burden of the struggle for black civil rights, but clash because of their dialectics and didactics in the face of confrontation against racism. And what should have been a pleasant night in a hot city, to celebrate the victory of the era Cassius Clay (later to be called Muhammad Ali), turns into a perplexing and offensive night of contrasts and disagreements, when each one’s perceptions about life, struggle and even death begin to collide.

And it is born from there, in a simple room of an unidentified motel, one of the most powerful dramas of 2020. It unfolds like a kind of rehearsal, in which its characters orbit and navigate exclusively around their dialogues, thoughts and fears, One Night in Miami is a production inspired by the real-life perspective of its own protagonists and sustains its plot in exactly that genuine, genuine essence that these four personalities already had, in a night that actually happened. . Unfolding from that for a cultivated, intellectual and intimate journey, the drama is a passionate mixture of fiction and realism, it leaves the line that separates them very blurry and tenuous, precisely to make us understand the weight of being black in a society of exclusion and segregation.

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Developing a conflicted, distressing and now calm and trapped relationship dynamic in a hotel room, we detached ourselves from the city of Miami itself to experience the almost claustrophobic atmosphere of this small space, where friends Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown and Muhammad Ali try to stifle their opinions on each other, ending up on a trajectory of emotional and existential collision. Here, specific and categorical subjects such as racism, economic freedom for blacks, racial conventionality, colorism and equality come to life voraciously, consuming the desires and desires of the characters, as this brings us to a epiphany where the audience itself is forced to confront its own systems and choices.

With an excellent, sharp, sometimes painful, ruthless and difficult to hear speech, the period drama is absolutely contemporary, while being precise in relation to the historical period in which it is found. Exposing the weaknesses and strengths of these men, One Night in Miami is a prelude to what would be the final year of Malcolm X’s life and brings the surgical and clinical characteristics of these characters to us, presenting us with a banquet of fascinating performances. Kingsley Ben-Adir (Malcolm X), Eli Goree (Cassius Clay), Aldis Hodge (Jim Brown) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Sam Cooke) honor the responsibility they received from Regina King and extract the mannerisms, tone of speech and body language of these icons.

Leslie Odom Jr. stars in ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI
Photo: Patti Perret / Amazon Studios

And King, as a filmmaker who is self-aware and at ease directing as if he were an experienced professional, delivers a film that explores angles well, always emphasizing the expressiveness of its actors – precisely. to give substance to the discourse of the drama, this is what governs the whole story. Communicating with the generation of the Black Lives Matter movement, reaching out to blacks and whites, she debuts in impeccable socio-cultural timing. Recently an Emmy Award-winner for Watchmen, Regina King makes One Night Miami a personal declaration of love for running heroes and walks lightly and confidently towards what I hope will ultimately be the inaugural Oscar for best achievement. of history for a black woman.

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