The Last Black Man in San Francisco

The Last Black Man in San Francisco ★★★½

Joe Talbot, in his directorial debut, has crafted a terrific homage of San Francisco and it's crazed/unique inhabitants, that doesn't shy away from it's numerous issues like gentrification, poverty and racism to name a few.
And yet, the beautiful and crisp cinematography by Adam Newport-Berra nearly always portrays it sun-bathed in this yellow-ish light for a dream-like surrealist look; with wides that not only are for establishing location, but give a sense of how small you are in this larger than life city that, as the characters learn, was here before you and will be after you and doesn't owe you anything. Aside from how well shot it is, the moody score by Emile Mosseri perfectly reflects on the city and the movie's themes.
The performances by both actors and non-actors were very natural and great, specially the main duo. Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Mayors have an incredibly genuine chemistry and deliver both in the comedy and drama.
What holds this from being a masterpiece are in some of the script and pacing. The movie has a very loose structure and during the second act the story started to feel meandering, and I think some of it could've been cut down for a more tight experience. Luckily the movie picks up in the third act and the resolution is fittingly a heartfelt resignation while being hopeful as well.
I'll definitely be checking out whatever Talbot does next because this an impressive, affectingly made first feature that will probably grow on me with repeated viewings.

Franklin liked these reviews

All