DanTheMan123’s review published on Letterboxd:
Y'know I had quite a lot of expectations for this (mostly because WB has been promoting the hell outta it, for good reasons) and I'm happy to say that a majority of my expectations were met. And while watching this I just found myself absolutely befuddled and crazed on how all of this stuff happened. The film doesn't hold back, it shows what it needs to show at the right moments while making you feel a whole ton of emotions during the many scenes of just absolute horror. This film was directed by Shaka King and stars the absolutely talented cast of Lakeith Stanfield,Daniel Kaluuya,Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback,Algae Smith,Ashton Sanders,Darrell-Britt Gibson,Dominique Thorne and Lil Rel Howery in this film that goes in the standard biograph structure (as we've all come to know) but I think with Shaka King's overall direction and style really gave this film it's spark...oh and the performances were just perfect. So Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield brought out two POWERHOUSE performances that are just worthy for the Oscar's, they were stunning. Daniel Kaluuya especially shined in this film (when does he not?) and...he was just perfect in every way you could think of. Lakeith also portrayed Bill perfectly aswell, Bill O'Neal as a person in our history just went through so much from his point of view, like I can't imagine what all of these events and things he had to do must've been like. I didn't know about any of these events until this film and just seeing it all unfold was genuinely heartbreaking. The film slowly leads to one big moment in the third act and while you see it coming...you dread it. And it is heartbreaking. Also while we're talking about performances, it's odd seeing Jesse Plemons not play a Psycho, he's still an asshat in this film...but he ain't psycho. There is one thing his character says on the first act of the film, and that is "You can't cheat your way to equality". And that stuck with me, in what way do we have to cheat a system to have such a thing? Shouldn't it be simple? Equality should never be a difficult thing to have, but sadly this is a fucked up world we live in. This film on a technical level was great aswell. The score was subtle yet very effective. The cinematography was impressive and the editing was also a treat to see. I'm definitely impressed with what Shaka King was able to craft. I think my only few flaws with this is maybe the pacing was a bit off, I wasn't bored but sometimes the structure of the story being told felt a bit messy. And I wish there was a bit more focus on some other characters that eventually died in the film, while the events are tragic I wish the film would've built on these people more...just so we could feel the impact just a bit more. But overall this is a great film that has certainly been released at an interesting time, and I don't believe current events are leading to some people hyping this film up more then it should be. We all can agree that this was well put together and well executed, so if you have a theater playing this nearby or have HBO Max then I do highly recommend you check this out when you can.