Zack’s review published on Letterboxd:
First of all, it’s insane how timely this film is. Trial of the Chicago 7 had one subplot about it, but this film directly deals with the systemic racial injustice that black people faced, and are still facing, in the world. The black community does not deserve to have to deal with these terrible racial issues, and while it’s certainly not as bad as it once was, it shouldn’t still be happening at all. With that out of the way, what about the film itself? It’s really great. It’s not perfect, but it is undeniably powerful and very well made. Daniel Kaluuya is the one getting that most attention for this film, and rightfully so, he definitely deserves it. He will probably win the Oscar, and I’m not opposed to that at all. It was such an impressive performance, especially the one scene where he really got to show his talents. Lakeith Stanfield also delivers an excellent performance, obviously not as strong or as memorable as Kaluuya, but in my opinion equally deserving of praise. Dominique Fishback also was very good, as was Jesse Plemons. You know? Everyone in this movie was great. It’s definitely an ensemble film. Moving on, Shaka King’s direction was my favourite part aside from Kaluuya. It reminded me a bit of Steve McQueen, in the sense that it felt raw and down to earth, and wasn’t afraid to show the gritty side of it’s subject matter. I can’t see him squeezing into the Oscar category, but if he gets a nom or two at some other award shows, I would be very happy. I didn’t find the screenplay to be as powerful, but it was definitely not bad. The soundtrack I dug, at points it was a bit cliche, but I liked how they brought elements of jazz into the score. The cinematography went well with the direction, it was gritty and down to earth. And finally, the last praise I want to give this movie is the excellent editing. So with all those positives, well I’m gonna be brutally honest here, I did have a couple more issues with the film then I hoped to. First, our lead character. As mentioned, Lakeith was great. But the character himself could have used some more development. If you ask me, Kaluuya’s character was much more interesting, and I would have much preferred him as the protagonist. I also felt that certain plot points were a bit too sudden, and not built up or explored enough. Without spoilers, those plot points were a certain character being arrested, and a couple characters being killed (might seem like a spoiler but when you watch the film, you’ll see that it isn’t really). Lastly, the structure of the film. Don’t get me wrong, it was always engaging and gripping. However, I thought the plot lacked a bit of a structure. Because of that, the ending didn’t totally satisfy me, as I felt it came a bit too fast and the effects of it weren’t totally felt. I can see someone making a point that was actually the intention, but it was still a bit of an issue for me. With those aside, this is definitely a really great and very engaging movie. Powerful direction, an amazing supporting performance and impressive ensemble cast, and excellent editing and cinematography.