The Malcolm X retreat
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
There was a shot in the film that I liked where the camera follows Malcolm while he looks behind the curtain to find out if someone is spying on him.
There are similarities between 2020 and 1964. Last year, the coronavirus pandemic began and when the George Floyd protests happened last summer, the conversation on racism became more mainstream. The year 1964, almost a year after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, was the first peak of the fight for equal rights.
Also, four predominant African Americans were at their peak after they spend One Night in Miami, their lives are changed forever. Based on the play of the same name, Academy Award winner Regina King’s directorial debut begins with an introduction to the four men. Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) who would later be known as Muhammad Ali is becoming a star boxer, Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) tries to appeal to audiences despite having the number one song in the country, Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) is one of the predominant players in the NFL, and Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) is still on the run fighting for his cause.
After Cassius wins the infamous match where he declares that he is the greatest in Miami, the four men who are friends hang out in Malcolm’s hotel room and talk about what they have been doing recently. Cassius reveals that his success was made possible by Malcolm converting him to Islam and will tell the entire world that he is a Muslim. This would set the future of the four men and the entire world. Cassius is playful and funny with his poetic rants and fooling around, Jim is serious, Sam is optimistic and tries to think of a way to make it big, and Malcolm is angry and passionate while staying true to his religion.
While I did not see Spike Lee’s depiction of Malcolm X, Ben-Adir’s portrayal of the African American figure is true to the man. He could win Best Actor in the Academy Awards this year as well as King for her direction for the acting in the film. There was a shot in the film that I liked where the camera follows Malcolm while he looks behind the curtain to find out if someone is spying on him.
The men give each other advice and that advice leads to what happens to them after the night. It shows that change has some risks and could cost their careers, but it ends with an impact. There was also a scene where the men talk about the music industry—which was also the soundtrack of a historic decade—and they all even agree that the Beatles are funny.
A major event can lead to a small moment that will lead to a revolutionary moment—and that One Night in Miami would change the course of history. One Night in Miami is available on Amazon Prime Video.