JasonMichael’s review published on Letterboxd:
Every second, every shot of this film oozes the passion poured into it, most clearly by its chief architects, writers, and co-stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal. Over 10 years they shaped and honed their many messages here, with true events (both from their own lives and those close to them, and key events such as the murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland) frequently inspiring significant changes and opening new directions.
It works. It really does. There are no less than 100 different tones the film often ping-pongs between by the word, but always in an incredibly natural way simply mirroring real life, where things are never happy and funny then, slow transition, sad. Life is everything at once. And so is this film.
Beyond the frequent hilarity (there is a Michael Peña from ANT-MAN styled soliloquy that, up until things get dark, is absolutely bonkers hilarious and drops the best and most wild pejoratives for shitty hipster white dudes ("Topher Grace", "Portlandia") at the highest clip I've ever seen), the standouts here are the strong uses of verse, cadence, and elevated language (along with undoubtedly a ton of Bay Area-isms that went right past me) that especially are used to great effect int he third act; by both performance of Daveed and filmmaking, an exceptional exploration of PTSD; and the many moments and choices employed to engage audience empathy - think about the denouement and who's side you're on and that says everything.