Film Reviews (November 2020) by Adam Ray Palmer

This past month saw the first ever fully virtual London Film Festival. The programme was stacked with four to five films to see per day and I’ve got three of the best for you below! Let’s get into it…

Mangrove
Steve McQueen’s Mangrove tells the true story of Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes), whose West Indian restaurant Mangrove, a lively community hub in London’s Notting Hill, attracted locals, activists, intellectuals and artists. Set in 1971, with blatant racial discrimination taking place on the streets, in restaurants and even in the courts; Crichlow finds himself and his drug-free business the brunt of relentless police raids.
McQueen and Alastair Siddons’ (co-writer) Mangrove is bold, important filmmaking. From the cinematography, the soundtrack, the costume designs and the production sets – everything is thought-out and hits the mark. For me, there’s one scene that really encapsulates the film well. The final verdict court sequence with the Mangrove Nine in the dock is as revealing and intimate as a film can get. The “Closing Time” speech from Malachi Kirby is extremely powerful and moving. With this as a climax, McQueen leaves you with lots to think about.
Released: 15th November (BBC)

Supernova
Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) have been together for twenty years with so many happy memories. Their blissful life is hastily shattered following Tusker’s diagnosis with early onset dementia. With the condition worsening, the pair decide to spend precious time together with loved ones as they travel across England in their cosy campervan. As their trip progresses, they’re forced to confront the realisation of their heart-breaking situation. Passionate rifts arise as they start to contemplate what their future holds.
Harry Macqueen’s Supernova is an emotional and powerful look into the exploration of love in the face of tragedy. Its approach is very much that of a rollercoaster. The swift script lures you in to connect with Sam and Tusker’s loving relationship, before forcing you to sit alongside them in their impending heartbreak carriage as it goes through the corkscrews. Supernova is an impressive second feature from Macqueen and one that will springboard his work into more households.
Released: 27th November

One Night in Miami
One Night in Miami is the imagined story, based on real events, of what followed 22-year-old Muhammad Ali’s (Eli Goree) 1964 victory over heavyweight champion Sonny Liston. After becoming world champion, Cassius Clay (at the time) heads back to a hotel with three close friends in activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and NFL player Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). What ensues on that one evening in Miami between the four gentleman is a clash of personal and political minds.
There’s lots of positives with this film, but none more so than the intricate filmmaking. It’s dialogue-heavy, but the script never feels too laboured. For a first-time feature behind the camera, Regina King delivers a powerful debut. The script is a long two hours, but it zips through due to clever pacing. One Night in Miami was adapted from the stage play by Kemp Powers and it still has that authentic feel of a two-hour concert. The four protagonists are given equal screen time to shine as the camera pans around them, cutting back and forth like we are a live audience watching four gifted actors do their thing. For first-time outing for King, it’s a beauty.
Released: 15th January

What’s coming up with Cineroom?
Next month we will look at something Christmassy to get us in the mood! for the festive period. For now, stay safe. Follow Cineroom on Facebook and Twitter and I’ll see you soon!
Adam Ray Palmer
Creative Director of Cineroom
Twitter: @CineroomTweets
Cineroom is an award-winning film site!