It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
In the opening scenes of "Black Joy," the hero is as naive as a man can be without literally walking up to strangers and handing them his paycheck. Ben is an immigrant to England just off the flight from Guyana, and he's a sitting duck in London's tough Brixton section. He looks like a rube, right down to his cardboard suitcase and the piece of paper he carries, with the address of a relative on it. Of course he can't find the address. Of course he's a mark waiting to be taken.
Ben loses his wallet and most of his cash within minutes - to a 9-year-old thief. He wanders into a flophouse where the inmates try to steal what's left while he sleeps. He wanders Brixton's mean streets, which might appear cold and threatening except for the cheerful West Indian colors everywhere and the wall-to-wall reggae. Then he meets Dave.
Dave is a jiver and conniver, who lives off the earnings of his girlfriend's snack shop and spends his days and money in gambling clubs and brothels. At first he sees the innocent Guyanese as an easy target, but eventually he comes to see him as a friend - and an easy target. He offers to show him the ropes, introduce him to girls, teach him the ways of the big city. He even helps Ben get a job as a garbage man and then expropriates his paycheck.
All of this is done at breakneck comic speed against a backdrop of girlfriends, hookers, gambling friends, street people and fly-by-night merchants.