Short film review: 21st St & Colonial (2021) by Angelo Reyes

One way or the other, extremely, we at Asian Film Pulse have obtained a movie about Black violence in time for Martin Luther King Jr Day. This movie involves us from Filipino Italian director Angelo Reyes by way of our Submit Your Movie Initiative. Although his third directed work, “twenty first & Colonial,” isn’t within the least about Asian id and even about Asia broadly talking, I personally discover it intriguing for its subject material alone. It’s, in spite of everything, a testomony to the breadth of matters which diaspora administrators try to cowl.

“twenty first St & Colonial” assessment is a part of the Submit Your Movie Initiative

However maybe “twenty first & Colonial” is extra of a private story for Virginia-based Reyes. This 17-minute quick relies on the true demise of Joshua “Omar” Johnson in Norfolk, Virginia. Within the movie, issues go from dangerous to worse for Omar (performed by Ogden Buck). He first learns that his girlfriend is pregnant and has been disowned. His mom finds out about his grassy facet hustle and tries to actually flush it down the drain. He loses no matter trustworthy cash he makes after a debtor swoops in to gather his earnings. When a examine lastly makes its method into his pocket, then, it looks like he’s lastly catching a fortunate break. His hopes are quickly reduce quick, nonetheless, when the police shoot him lifeless. 

The movie is tense and tragic, however in the end feels generic. Unusually sufficient, the director’s assertion claims that this narrative – apparently primarily based on a real story – concerned cautious analysis. Reyes factors out that cautious consideration had been paid particularly to the event of Carlos (performed by Reyes himself), a manic police officer on the scene. For all of his analysis, nonetheless, Carlos is a flat foil. Except for the few phrases thrown in right here and there about his background (PTSD, ex-marine, clearly not in his proper thoughts), he solely splutters knee-jerk reactions and empty threats. It’s virtually as if Reyes is afraid of fleshing out the killer. Humanizing a police officer in a movie about Black violence is sort of taboo. 

However, Buck falls naturally in his position. He seamlessly eases into his relationships along with his forged mates, creating an easy-to-believe chemistry on-screen. Leah Anova’s cinematography solely accentuates Buck’s talent as properly. A plethora of close-ups construct up a palpable pressure between every character. The lighting likewise captures the richness of coloration on an in any other case bland, suburban panorama. For a comparatively pedestrian setting in Norfolk, Virginia, Buck and the digicam crew carry the movie alive. 

For all of its ups and downs nonetheless, “twenty first St & Colonial” isn’t a powerful work by any means. It’s actually polished, sure; its camerawork, for instance, appears to go by the e-book. In doing so although, it simply feels too formulaic. Reyes loses sight of the true Omar for the sake of the bigger (silver) image. The movie absorbs Omar into a bigger image of tragedy, extending his life into that of the numerous; Carlos is much less of a human than he’s a pig. Reyes fails to comprehend that Black lives matter — not simply the motion, however that of each individual.



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