By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
Sacramento filmmaker Deon Taylor
impresses me with every movie he makes. His resume includes the 2014 indie film “Supremacy” and his recent thrillers “The Intruder” (2019) and “Traffik” (2018).
With his latest drama “Black and Blue”
Taylor elevates his game once again and delivers his most audacious movie yet.
“Black and Blue” is fiercely exciting. It takes flight on the strength of its sensational lead star Naomie Harris who earned an Oscar nomination for “Moonlight” and will reprise her role as Eve MoneyPenny in the upcoming James Bond movie, “No Time to Die” (April 2020).
In “Black and Blue” Harris plays Alicia West, a rookie police officer in New Orleans who has come back home after serving overseas in the military.
Her hood wasn’t all that when she left, but high unemployment, gangs and drugs have nearly decimated it.
Her partner Kevin (Reid Scott, TV’s “Veep” and “Will & Grace”) even tells her that the place is so bad that most cops don’t even bother answering calls and going out there unless it involves one of them.
And to think, Alicia thought she was coming back home to make a difference.
When Alicia volunteers to cover a shift for Kevin (Scott) and is teamed with Officer Deacon Brown (a great James Moses Black, TV’s “This is Us”), she steps into a living nightmare.
While on patrol, Officer Brown receives an odd call on his cell phone and they head to an old abandoned building. He tells Alicia to stay in the car. But when she hears shots fired, Alicia goes inside and hides.
She sees an undercover narc agent named Malone (a terrific Frank Grillo, “Avengers: Endgame”) murder some unarmed informants.
These dirty cops notice Alicia and that she heard and saw most everything. What’s worse, their exploits were captured on her bodycam. They can’t take the chance of her exposing them and others in the department who are involved.
They decide to bring her in dead or alive and get that bodycam.
But Alicia is a rookie in name only and despite being wounded by one of Malone’s guys, she escapes and seeks help.
However, people in her neighborhood, don’t want any part of Alicia now that she’s become “one of them.” She may be black, but she’s really blue and as far they’re concerned she can’t be trusted.
Not only that, the cops have convinced the local gangbangers and their leader Darius (a fabulous Mike Colter, TV’s “Evil” and “Luke Cage”) that Alicia is the one who murdered those informants. The stakes just got higher.
Alicia manages to convince her childhood friend Milo “Mouse” Jackson (An excellent Tyrese Gibson, the upcoming “Fast & Furious 9”) to help her uncover the truth.
“Black and Blue” becomes a thrilling game of cat and mouse as Alicia tries to stay steps ahead of her killers. Director Deon Taylor is in fine form here and keeps audiences on the edge of their seat with relentless, pulse-pounding action.
Screenwriter Peter A. Dowling (“Reasonable Doubt”) avoids many of the clichés that are often prevalent in police dramas. In addition, “Black and Blue” is grounded in reality and doesn’t overstate its timely message about urban policing and police corruption.
Did I mention how amazing Naomie Harris is? She and the stellar supporting cast sell it all convincingly.
“Black and Blue” is pure gold.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.
Watch This Trailer For "BLACK AND BLUE"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of The Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.