We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
This film tells such a sad story. You don't realize that at first. You think you know what's going to happen, and it will be conventional and comforting. We see an 11-year-old kid waking up in the morning, getting dressed, using his water pistol to aim at the mirror, and going in to breakfast with his grandmother and his uncle.
It's a comfortable African-American home in Baltimore. His Uncle Vincent (Common), who drives a Benz, gives him a ride to school. There's a cute girl on the school steps who smiles at him in a flirty way. Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.) is a little shy and embarrassed. Vincent encourages him to smile back. Nothing doing. So he drives away from the school, just like that, and announces they're spending the day together.
This involves taking Woody to a neighborhood tailor, who fits him into a nice-looking suit and tie. Vincent tells him he has to present himself like a man. It was later in the movie that it occurred to me this visit wasn't simply a nice gesture. Was it part of a plan slowly in the uncle's mind, in which he might have a use for a well-dressed 11-year-old?
Nuno Malo's music is serious and not terribly hopeful. Quiet, in the background, it broods as the man and the boy begin an odyssey around Baltimore. Facts randomly emerge. Vincent is fresh out of prison, having been given an early release. When the judicial system grants an early release, that doesn't always send a reassuring message to the prisoner's old friends. We learn that Vincent has plans to close a bank loan for his business project, a crab house on the waterfront.