Director, Chris “Max” Pinset, takes us into his cinematic world of what it’s like to experience the Black Lives Matter movement, during COVID-19, and the influx of unemployment that led to massive financial struggles. The indie project, filmed at the height of the pandemic, has many different approaches to tackling the hardships that black people faced during the pandemic in Harlem. However, that doesn’t mean that all topics were covered to the best of their abilities.
We are introduced to our main character, Donald, played by Oran Juice Jones ii. The movie proceeds to follow him, in what is a day of his life arc. The film establishes that Donald is unemployed, and is known to sit in his room, with a rotating door of females, instead of actively job searching. It’s also set up that Donald, is part of a drug dealing scheme, and since he has no source of income, he can’t pay his promised half of the money, so naturally he ignores the demands of his higher-ups to avoid the inevitable happening.
Staying on track, Donald’s father, played by, Oran Juice Jones, tells Donald to search for a job. Donald then forces his sibling to call the New York unemployment line so that he’s able to get approved for a loan.
From there, we are introduced to B-Hi, who Donald goes to when he wants to purchase weed. There we see a random man tied up in B-Hi’s basement. The viewer is then under the assumption, that this man owes B-Hi money for a deal, and then when he refuses to stop talking, he randomly gets stabbed to death, scaring off Donald.
We then get introduced to King, played by Lynn Darryl Jones, who states that Donald hasn’t lived up to his deal of paying him the money he owes and that he will be taking care of him when sees him.
From then on, we see ways in which Donald is attempting to get the money to pay him, but in the end, he gets short of the money, and eventually meets King face-to-face, with a gunshot wound.
This film has a loaded cast, and at times, the only person who seems convinced of their roles is King. The other characters, seem to deliver their lines like they know they are in a movie. Donald’s character doesn’t show much fear about what could possibly happen to him. Even when he’s met with a gun, he still does not hammer home any emotional connection for the audience to care about him.
The film does hit the cinematography aspect out of the park. The film is very vibrant, and sometimes oversaturated, to heavily highlight a black aesthetic. It makes the community look very uppity, and energetic, compared to the somber tone that other films might highlight as grey and somber. This film takes heavy use of orange, red, and green, symbolizing it being a new day, another day of hope.
One thing that this film does lack, is a sense of direction. Throughout the 38-minute film, we are introduced to many different layers of what is umbrellaed by the topic of social issues. For example, this movie is heavily centered on unemployment, but the film focuses heavily on drug dealing, and barely anytime on job searching. The movie then discusses black-on-black crime, as stated by the narrator. Then the movie jumps to a very brief section of “Karens,” then randomly has a police chase scene, then randomly cuts to another scene, where the chase just ends, and it’s never brought back up. For a short film, the movie kept introducing plot points, but they were never important to the story and because of that, some scenes felt incomplete.
This film does slight nods to many coming-of-age films from the 90s, with writing styles and lessons, influenced by John Singelton’s 1991 film, “Boyz In The Hood,” and some key elements from the 1995 classic, “Friday,” with the visual appeal influenced by television shows of the 2020’s decade like “Euphoria.” This makes an indie film that can connect its main point of how unemployment heavily affects the black community, with the flashiness of what makes a modern piece successful to its viewers.