Review: In ‘Dayveon,’ Wading Into Gang Life in Arkansas


Photo

Devin Blackmon in “Dayveon.”

Credit
FilmRise

“Dayveon,” the debut feature of Amman Abbasi, ticks several boxes on the checklist of independent film affectations: the casting of nonprofessionals, the blending of fiction and documentary elements, a glancing editing style that is either lyrical or vague depending on your point of view. The movie bears a superficial resemblance visually and in its coming-of-age narrative to “George Washington” (directed by David Gordon Green, an executive producer here) and “Moonlight,” but it never finds the right balance between the suggestive and the concrete.

Mr. Abbasi, raised in Arkansas after his family immigrated from Pakistan, extensively researched gang life in the region, and the resulting specificity gives the movie what charge it has. The film follows Dayveon (Devin Blackmon), a 13-year-old in rural Arkansas. Mourning his brother’s shooting death — which we’re told has driven his mother to madness — he lives with his sister, Kim (Chasity Moore), and her boyfriend, Bryan (Dontrell Bright).

Shortly after the movie opens, a group of Bloods assault Dayveon as part of an initiation rite. “I got jumped in,” he tells Bryan, who isn’t thrilled. Bryan was close with Dayveon’s brother and, at one point, openly offers to be a brother figure to him. (Dayveon doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve.) Dayveon gets a more rude awakening to gang life when he covers up a license plate to help his comrades flee a robbery.

With dialogue that doesn’t make concessions to clear exposition, the movie hints at several possible futures for Dayveon: a stable life with his family; afternoons skipping rocks with a friend (Kordell Johnson), who is also a new gang member; more robberies. But the diffuse filmmaking style muffles the story’s power.

Continue reading the main story



Source link

About admin

Check Also

Big Sonia: I’m Still Here

She was 15 at the time, her fondness for books, nature and painting leaving her ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *