Hey folks, Valkor here. As much as love this website that I affectionately call TOV, there's one section that I embrace more than the other areas of the site and that side is MediaView. I mean how can I not like it more than most? I get to chill back with my favorite drink and snacks and watch either some really awful films or something more profound such as the film that I'm about to review today - Everyday Black Man. The film stars Henry Brown, Afi Ayanna, and Omari Hardwick, and it's also the directorial debut of Carmen Madden, who in my opinion, is off to one hell of a start.
Everyday Black Man centers on Moses (Henry Brown), a local grocery store owner who's all but down on his luck and in need of some cashflow. Having been turned down for a loan by the bank, Moses (who also runs the store with a young man named Sonny (Corey Jackson)), has nowhere to turn and it would seem he's on the brink of shutting down. It would seem Moses has a thing for giving away free food to the locals, especially to one Claire (Tessa Thompson) and her grandmother. Nothing wrong with it, but when bills start piling up, you might wanna cut back on the giveaways. Enter Malik (Omari Hardwick – Linewatch, Dark Blue), a Black Muslim with the heart of gold; he's merely looking out for his "brothers and sisters" and gives Moses an offer he simply can't refuse – let him sell his baked goods out of the store and he'll give him sixty thousand big ones to help cover costs. Moses is a bit hesitant at first, but after visiting the Mosque where Malik studies, works, and prays, he decides to accept the young man's offer. But soon Moses will come to find out that this kind-hearted Muslim actually has ulterior motives for his store - such as running a drug trafficking business using the bakery as a front. So now Moses has to reach back into his past and become the man he once was to face a threat that not only threatens his neighborhood, but those close to him as well; namely one Shaunda, who doesn't know that Moses is her dad.
I think the big question is: Is Everyday Black Man worth putting on your Netflix Queue? For that you'll have to hit up the TOV Breakdown.
While the story isn't anything we haven't seen before, I will say that Everyday Black Man definitely draws you into its world and won't let go until the bitter end. Yes I was very impressed with just ebout everything this film had to offer up. The plot is tightly woven, evenly paced with very few slow areas and just enough suspense to keep you guessing, which is all thanks to the fine direction of one Carmen Madden. I don't usually give enough credit to directors, but Carmen deserves a serious round of applause for not only giving us a compelling story (she wrote the film) but also making sure all the pieces fit. I also wanna give props to Carmen for making a film that's not overly thugged out. I was expecting a film loaded with gangbangers and heavy bass rap music, instead I get a film that's smart and thought-provoking. Congrats! Mad props go out my boy Omari Hardwick who KILLS it as Malik in this film. I've seen the dude act (looking forward to Season 3 of Dark Blue... if there is one) and I've always enjoyed his performance, but in Everyday Black man he's devious, intimidating, and mad wicked to the core; the kind of guy who'll smile big at you one minute, but will soon stab you square in the heart the next. I was excited when I saw Omari's name in the credits and he did not let me down. Great job! Sexy props go out to Tessa Thompson who blew me away with all her cuteness as well as her performance… but mainly she's so damn cute that if she were to solo a film just talking about the history of wax, I'd probably watch the whole thing without batting an eye. Finally I gotta give credit to Henry Brown who plays the role of Moses to a "T". Superb acting and you can almost feel the burden Moses is carrying. I especially enjoyed how a lot of his backstory is gradually revealed rather than tossed in all at once. Overall a great cast, great direction = one great piece of film.
Though I like the fact that Moses's past doesn't come out all at once, I think a little more could have been done in terms of his relationship with his neighborhood. Sure we're told that he's a great man, but we never really get to see it, except when he's giving stuff to Claire. Also I found the ending to be a bit abrupt; definitely should have been extended it a bit longer, with a bigger face-off between Malik and Moses.
Everyday Black Man is available now and is a definite winner in my book; it's sharp, compelling, and edgy, with a well-rounded cast that put on a solid performance and a first time out director who shines. Would I reccomend it? Highly! Add it to your Netflix Queue or pick it up today. And out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving Everyday Black Man 4.5 stars and it's been Valkor viewed, TOV Approved.