October 10, 2019 

By Lapacazo Sandoval 

Contributing Writer 

 

This film begins with a scene that Black and Brown people know all too well. Alicia West (Naomie Harris), minding her business, out for her morning run, is pulled over by a pair of white cops, who begin roughing her up for no reason. The situation grows tense but then one of the cops pulls out her ID and discovers she's a fellow officer, a rookie in her third week on the New Orleans police force. No apology offered, they let her go, muttering some nonsense that she (in her running clothes) fit “ the description" followed by "You know how it is.”

 

I call it what it is which is racism. Alicia knows it as well, you can tell by the brimming rage and humiliation that’s on her face. Directed by Deon Taylor we get off to a promising start. 

 

Eager to earn her place, Alicia volunteers to take a night shift from her partner, Kevin (Reid Scott), during which she witnesses a triple murder committed by Police officers who don’t plan on being caught. Too late, maybe, since she’s captured the whole crime on a body cam and now has the evil undercover officer Terry Malone (Frank Grillo), as well as Darius (Mike Colter), and a group of Lower 9th Ward criminals trying to find and silence her. Here’s where it gets tricky, she has to get the bodycam footage back to her precinct, upload it to the interdepartmental cloud and expose the killers.

 

This is life and death with corruption at every turn and being an African-American woman, on the police force, Alicia has few people she can trust, including the residents in the community she's sworn to protect. She’s one of them, dressed in the blue uniform and almost everyone looks at her with deep distrust. Desperate, she turns to Mouse (Tyrese Gibson), a grocery store owner who helps in her initial escape then becomes her only confidante.

 

Early on, a police officer threatens Mouse in his store at gunpoint so he understands the danger Alicia is facing is real.

 

There are enough situations to make a tight thriller, unfortunately, Taylor lets the movie drag letting the suspense dissipates, like air from a balloon. That being said, the director cares and understands what the film is really about. The movie also looks great thanks to the work of the cinematographer Dante Spinotti.

 

This is a crime thriller with a clear good guy (or, her gal) and of course, Alicia wins. She’s a strong woman of color, with righteous justice on her side. It’s a movie, not real life.

 

 The acting is good. The direction is fine. Could it have been better? The answer is yes.

 

Reviewed at Urbanworld 2019 (Spotlights) - 104 minutes

 

“Black and Blue” starring Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo, Mike Colter, Reid Scott, Beau Knapp, Nafessa Williams. Directed by Deon Taylor.

Category: Arts & Culture


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