9.5 / 10


Kingsley Ben-Adir as Malcolm X.

Eli Goree as Muhammad Ali

Aldis Hodge as Jim Brown

Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke

Joaquina Kalukango as Betty Shabaz

Nicolette Robinson as Barbara Cooke

Beau Bridges as Mr. Carlton

Lance Reddick as Brother Kareem

Michael Imperioli as Angelo Dundee

Jerome A. Wilson as Elijah Muhammad

Amondre D. Jackson as LC Cooke

Aaron D. Alexander as Sonny Liston

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One night in Miami review:

In just three years, he tried his hand at writing the hit CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery and Pixar’s latest acclaimed effort soulKemp Powers has quickly established his voice as one of the most insightful and intelligent in Hollywood, especially in terms of authentic capturing the Black experience in America. Before becoming a screenwriter, Powers was a playwright and made his debut with the historically inspired One night in Miami and eight years later, with Regina King at the head of her directorial debut, it found its way onto the screen and cleverly shows that she was exactly the right talent to translate the powerful material for the film.

Set on the night of February 25, 1964, One night in Miami follows a young Cassius Clay (before he became Muhammad Ali) as he emerges from the Miami Beach Convention Center as the new heavyweight world champion. Despite all odds, he defeated Sonny Liston and shocked the sports world. While many people in Miami Beach rave about celebrating the match, Clay – who cannot stay on the island due to the segregation laws from the time of Jim Crow – instead spends the night at the Hampton House Motel in one of Miami’s historically black neighborhoods, in which he celebrates with three of his closest friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and soccer star Jim Brown. The next morning the four men emerge determined to define a new world for themselves and their people.

While the events of the title night after Cassius’ defeat of Liston can become fictional, the character development and conversations shown over the hours of the story nonetheless feel like a truly authentic and compelling glimpse at a point in the story. Much like the works of Aaron Sorkin, the film remains energetic and moving steadily at its pace thanks to dialogue from Powers, who uses his experience as a playwright and his own source material to ensure that every scene, even if limited to one Location, never feels boring. A list of four main characters doesn’t seem too difficult to balance, especially with nearly two hours running, but even if it feels like Malcolm X is threatening to outshine his fellow black symbols and speak, one of the three takes hers own command and illuminate their revealing nature.

Powers’ sharp script is only enhanced by the incredible performances of its four main characters and the absolutely stunning directing by King on her feature film debut. While a movie set primarily in a hotel room sounds simple (and cheap) enough to direct for a debut, King does not settle for a purely minimalist approach, given that their narrative is about the only place with a flashy concert recap and a personalized character interweaves introductions that show a firm understanding and appreciation for the film’s iconic main characters.

An Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy winner, King has worked with some of Hollywood’s finest directors, from John Singleton to Cameron Crowe to Barry Jenkins. He shows a clear understanding of the best places to put a camera and sit back while the incredible cast go to work. Odom Jr.’s Sam and Ben-Adirs Malcolm occasionally outperform the other two with their constant argument that is utterly authentic and persuasive, but that doesn’t stop Goree and Hodge from doing equally outstanding feats that they respectfully bring to life .

One Night in Miami’s only real mistake lies in the occasional repetitive skirmishes between Cooke and X, but thanks to his sharp handwriting full of powerful modern parallels, the stunning direction of King, and the excellence of his four main characters, this has already set the bar high in each 2021 Film follows.