The intimacy of the environment exponentially makes the tension more tangible and extreme.

As with Denzel Washington’s Fences, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom feels like a stage play that has been translated as a feature, but ultimately provides an advantage to George C. Wolfe. It’s not exactly a bottle story as there is action outside of the recording studio and characters come and go at times, but it definitely has the intensifying vibe of a bottle story, and that’s key. It’s literally hot in the recording studio by the start of the movie, but metaphorically the temperature continues to rise and you feel the energy as ready to boil and explode. It is impressively orchestrated and will leave you breathless afterwards.