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All Day & A Night Tedious Relevance



All Day & A Night(Netflix)

Starring  Ashton Sanders as Jahkor Abraham Lincoln,Jalyn Hall as young Jahkor.Jeffrey Wright as James Daniel “J.D.” Lincoln,Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Big Stunna

Directed  by  Joe  Robert Cole

Rating: **(2 stars)

The  problem  with films  about  the black community in America is that their problems are so  similar as to  make  cinema  on  the race  seem  like  a community affair. Every  film is about  the  Black Identity and  the search for self-worth  in a  hostile racist environment.

 In   All Day  & A Night  a young black man Jahkor, played by  Ashton Sanders who shot to fame  with Moonlight,  is the ghetto boy whose father works hard  with a  stick  on  his son’s back to ensure the boy doesn’t  end up trapped in  the  stagnant  ruinous  environment.And when Dad asks if he has  been too harsh  , son I supposed reply in the negative.

Jahkor has his own plans on how to  lead his life. Before we  know it  his life  propels  out of control and  he ends  up in jail for manslaughter after   killing fellow-blacks in what seems  like  senseless  shoot-out.

Motivations  are  hard  to  decode  in this  film that takes our  presence and participation  for granted.  This is an insider’s view of what it feels like to be ghettoized in one’s  home-territory.The rhythm is  purposely  uneven. Jahkor’s present  and  past are defined by  a uniform code of brutality.

   Amidst  this  chaos of internalized  violence we are expected to empathize with  Jahkor’s  predicament.  But we don’t know  him well enough to care about him. And he doesn’t seem to care whether we care  or not.Ashton Sander’s performance is characterized  by  a defiant arrogance.He dares us to  ignore him   and at the same time challenges  us to try and penetrate  his  criminal  environment.

By the time Jahkor’s life  comes completely  undone we stop  caring about his future,  because he doesn’t seem  to have one. There  is  a plot-defining irony here  that  is supposed to move us. Jahkor and father James(Jeffrey Wright) are incarcerated in the same prison and the  brutal  dad  makes every effort to save  his son’s skin from the hostility in the prison.

   All  Day & A Night makes it difficult for us to  keep track of  the  supporting characters. They are  largely  blurred  emblems  of  corrosive  criminality . The  redemptive  spirit is  so  lost in din of the plot that   I  was  caught frequently wondering  at the purposelessness of the exercise.What  a wasted opportunity to  portray wasted  lives!

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