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Everyday Black Man, 2011, A By-The-Fireside Everyday Lore

by Nené DaitéMay 9, 2011

Moses Stanton has since closed the door to a violent past and now lives a quiet everyday life trying to earn an honest living running a small neighborhood store. While watching over his daughter(who doesn’t her father), Malik comes in pretending to be a good Muslim who has the welfare of the neighborhood at heart.

Despite some reservations, Moses takes Malik on as a business partner. It’s only a matter of time until Malik takes over the store and turns it into the centre of drug dealing. Even worse for Moses, his daughter, Shauna, falls in love with Malik. Moses must become the man he used to be in order to save his beloved neighborhood and his daughter.

Opinion: This movie is a bit like a book published before the writer’s quite ready, but the next one might be better. The story can be summarized as such:

Moses (Henry Brown) resorts to his starched away violent survival skills to save his daughter from a pretentious drug dealer.

What else is the movie about? Nothing, and here’s why!

First, the relationship between Moses and his daughter, Shauna, exquisitely played by Tessa Thompson, had no relevance at all to the plot. Will you try to protect your daughter, who’s already under your care from Malik (a drug dealer), whether she knew you were her father or not?

The answer is, absolutely. So how does this B-story change anything in the plot?

But say, Moses did not know he had a daughter. And when Malik (Omari Hardwick) had entered the picture and taken over the neighborhood he didn’t give a damn. Say, the neighborhood was imploring him to rescue them and he didn’t oblige.

Even when Malik had started dating the innocent and well talked about Shauna who works in his store. Then after he had learned that Shauna was actually his daughter, he has a u-turn and rescues his daughter and the whole neighborhood. We have a movie, not just another story to be told by the fire-side!

Hence, the backstory was not portrayed strongly enough to allow for the final scenes. It basically left the action at the end, watery, and let the film down in the long run. I would leave the rest for us all to ponder over, but I can’t stop thinking about a few things concerning the cinematography.

The establishing shots in the beginning of the movie meant very little. There was also too much use of the close-up that it failed to completely portray the correct mood that Carmen would have wanted to capture. The editor should have also paid a little bit more attention to the camera movement and the spatial orientation of subjects. For example, the funeral scene before Malik walks over to Shauna was horrible, to say the least.

However, the gradual suspense ramping up the whole story worked okay. The showdown perhaps, needed better direction, but all in all, Carmen Madden may grow before her next feature film. More grease to her elbows.

Genre: Action | Drama
Director: Carmen Madden
Stars: Omari Hardwick, Henry Brown, Tessa Thompson, Mo, Afi Ayanna

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Nené Daité
Nené Daité
I am a Recovering Explorer | Nevertheless, I still remain, perhaps in my Humble Belief, the Black Filmmaker's Toughest Critic.
  • //Amedeos

    This is as critical as it gets for black movies… so cool. Carmen seems to have a whole lot of potential as a director. This film in my opinion was watchable because the direction was a whole lot better than the story and the cinematography. I agree with you that, Afi is such a great actor and she should be given the chance to do more stuff. In fact, every body in this movie acted well and I think Carmen did a great job in directing them.

  • Tracee

    Big ups to women directors!

  • Up&Coming

    I definitely give Carmen Madden mad props for coming up with a movie that’s different from anything that’s out there. On the technical side the movie could be better but with some work on her storytelling and if her crew gets better, she could put out some great films that give us more variety.

  • D. Brooks

    I guess the black community is obsessed with not knowing who the father is and then revealing it in dramatic fashion so maybe that explains the irrelevant B-story.

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