Higgins’s review published on Letterboxd:
An incredibly intimate and moving picture about the people of Hale County, Alabama, told with little to no narrative structure. Instead what we are presented with moments of life itself - unfolding in a poetic beauty that might seem mundane but, given the proper perspective, is nothing short of profound.
Director RaMell Ross lingers patiently on his subjects allowing them the breathing room to be observed in as human a way as possible. His subjects help tell the story but in this film the cinematography does most of the talking. Absolutely stunning throughout, Ross meticulously constructs a visual tapestry of color and life. His eye is outstanding as are his shot choices. There’s a moment at the beginning of the film where the camera focuses on the ground underneath a man dribbling a basketball. Beads of sweat are falling on the cement. Ross cuts this with a rain shower on like cement. The effect is breathtaking and this is only one of many examples.
Equally important to the success of this film is the innovative and electric sound design. Added to the long takes that dominate this film, these songs and this soundtrack provide a haunting bed for this film to lay on. They give it an edge while at the same point wrapping it in a sonic, comforting blanket.
It’s yet to be seen if Ross can translate his gift as a cinematographer into a narrative driven film, or if he’d actually want to. His ability to cinematically communicate humanity and the human condition however, is undeniable. This is an incredible film from a gifted artist.