Harland Banks’s review published on Letterboxd:
Plot- A young man embarks on a journey of self-discovery after landing in the same prison as his father.
All Day And A Night is definitely an interesting take on how someone's environment can shape them into the person they eventually grow into. Yet the film doesn't do anything necessarily unique to make the film stand out or special.
My biggest issue with the film was that it definitely threw in a lot of unnecessary and useless plots that end up feeling abandoned by the end anyways. I also thought the character development was really weak and something that could have been more focused on than those useless moments. The random flashbacks that are meant to be contributed to the main character losing his innocence at a young age doesn't grasp the audience in the way it should have due to the fact that the film never truly shows us a different side of Jah even from a young age and because of this we can't truly understand how much of his childhood was sacrificed due to the situation he was born into. The problem is that they make a character with a troubled and deeply sorrowed past into a very one dimensional and almost uninteresting character that lacks the depth to make up for his bland surface.
This isn't just an issue with the main character but a big issue with every character introduced into the film. Everyone is very one dimensional and it feels like they were put into the film just to fill in spots. This is particularly upsetting because the cast was fantastic and despite being dealt these uninteresting and underdeveloped characters they manage to pull of incredible performances that can keep you interested in the film. The most screen dominant actor in Ashton Sanders without a doubt happens to be the most talented cast member delivering what may be the best performance I've seen all year. He really embodied his character and managed to deliver a very convincing performance and he alone made this film worth watching.
The writing in this films seems to be the only big issue with this movie and even the films writing isn't horrible in it's story, more mediocre then anything but it also does a great job at blending the real and personal moments in with the moments that feel farfetched to create a good balance. You can also tell that the film was created with good intentions but just didn't expand on any of the ideas or issues it presents in the film because of this instead of leaving this film with a new perspective on life or the ideology I just didn't really feel anything because the film didn't manage to get to me. I also wasn't really invested in the characters or story which is a big problem because I didn't really care about what was going on due to the unsatisfying presentation of this movie.
The pacing of this movie was actually really solid and the tone is strong from start to finish. The time jumping is decent but sometimes it causes the film to get foggy and exactly where the film is in it's timeline is confusing but it eventually becomes clearer and easier to understand. The sound design and sound mixing in this film are great and everything sounds good and fitting to the film, I also liked the score of the movie and even found some of the original music to fit well. The film is shot beautifully and looks fantastic, the coloring in certain scenes look perfect and you can tell from a technical and design aspect that a lot of effort was put into this film.
At the end of the day, All Day And A Night is an interesting idea and premise but due to the weak execution and overlooked obvious flaws in the writing that the film isn't able to pull off creating a good film. It lacks the emotional aspect that other films with similar concepts were able to heavily grasp and the lack of interesting characters and overall story makes this film very forgettable. From a technical standpoint especially visually the movie is fantastic but all of that seems so small without anything to connect you to the film or invest you into the characters. Ashton Sanders delivers an incredible performance and is definitely the bright stand out of the film and the supporting cast was definitely noteworthy aswell. Sadly it's obvious that this film had tons of potential with some interesting ideas, a fantastic cast and a great premise but sadly due to poor execution and just a lazy script, the film falls apart early on and loses it's audience making it unmemorable and just not very interesting. I'd recommend this film to anyone who wants to see this fantastic cast do as much as possible with this dead script but if you are looking for a more unique and interesting story then this isn't for you!