One Night in Miami Review – Four Stars, Awesome, A Directorial Triumph

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One Night in Miami, an Amazon Original Film, presents the story of a single historic night in February 1964 when four of the most celebrated and controversial black leaders of the day gathered to celebrate and reflect.

The film begins with four mini-introductions of the days, times, seasons, and events that are swirling through the United States and the world.

We meet Cassius Clay, played by Eli Goree, an upstart 22-year-old on his way to achieving his greatest dream, Jim Brown, played by Aldis Hodge, the Cleveland Browns Fullback who ran 1,863 yards in a single season, Sam Cooke, played by Leslie Odom, Jr., a prolific singer-songwriter breaking the white-only boundaries, and Malcom X, played by Kingsley Ben-Adira leader in the Nation of Islam.

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It's February 25, 1964, the fight is over. Cassius Clay has been crowned the heavyweight champion of the world and the four are gathering in the hotel of Malcom X, a black-only establishment to celebrate.

With the three acclaimed "stars," expecting their level of a celebration, champagne, free-flowing food, groupies, and extra-curricular entertainment, when Malcom X explains otherwise, it is like the electricity for this greatest moment had been punctuated with reminders.

What follows as the four each begin to address the attempts of Malcom X to redirect their loyalties, as we know he is about to leave the Nation of Islam to start his own nation, and desperately needs the power of big names to assist his cause.

They present their struggles and opinions, working from inside the system to free themselves from the power of those who rule the system. The challenges come when attempts are made to manipulate by denigrating, vilifying, and belittling the accomplishments, especially as Malcom X targets Sam Cooke for what he deems are his failures to support Negros and black artists.

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Jim Brown is on the cusp of movie stardom. His prowess on the field, and his championship records like any athlete takes a physical toll, and the pay, as we see, is impressive.

Cassius Clay, 22 and on top of the world, is preparing to join the Nation of Islam, but for this one night, the transformation and strict defined boundaries have yet to be carved into stone. Throughout the night we see he plays the referee as the exchanges become heated. He works to soothe the tempers, explain the actions, create calm and a spirit of brotherhood.

Malcom X, a man who appears desperate to evangelize and recruit marquee name Negros only to enslave them to a different master, and force them to fight against a system, openly and antagonistically, instead of freeing the brethren from the bondage of slavery economically.

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We are privileged to discussions and sentiments, of a comradery that is so free that piercing words, stabbing and painful, are liberally spoken knowing that tomorrow the friendship will still be the bond between them.

Regina King's One Night in Miami is a directorial triumph. The ensemble cast each bring sharp and award worthy performances. Beau Bridges captures the sentiment of the day and the scene is so poignant that the shock continues even as the film moves forward.

While One Night in Miami is emotional and affecting. It is a four-star triumph; it is also highly entertaining. Stories are shared, in flashbacks, that are reminders of life, of contributions, hopes and heartbreak.

One Night in Miami begins streaming on Amazon Prime Video January 15th, 2021. See this film.

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Year – 2020.

County – USA.

Runtime - 114 minutes.

Language – English.

Director - Regina King.

Screenplay - Kemp Powers based on the stage play "One Night In Miami..." by Kemp Powers.

Producer - Jess Wu Calder, Keith Calder, Jody Klein.

Cast - Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Joaquina Kalukango, Nicolette Robinson, Lance Reddick, Christian Magby, Michael Imperioli, Lawrence Gilliard, Jeremy Pope, and Beau Bridges.

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