By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
“Charm City Kings,”
the edgy, new drama which debuted Oct. 8 on HBO Max
is chockfull of talented actors.
Jahi Di'Allo Winston
(“The Upside”) is superb in the role as Mouse. He plays a teen from Baltimore who desperately wants to join The Midnight Clique, an infamous group of Baltimore dirt bike riders who rule the summertime streets. Mouse’s brother was a member of the biker’s club before he was tragically killed.
Consequently, Mouse’s mother Terri (a fabulous Teyonah Parris, “The Photograph”) does everything she can to protect Mouse and his little sister Shay (Milan Ray, TV’s “Boomerang”) from becoming victims of the violent streets.
Mouse is smart, has a love for animals and wants to become a veterinarian. He even works part-time at the local vet and the owner (Gina Jun, “The Handmaid’s Tale”) is impressed by how well Mouse can diagnose some of the animal’s illnesses. His future is college and not the streets.
Yet, the lure of “riding” is calling Mouse and his best friends Lamont (Hansley Jr.) and Sweartagawd (Kezil Curtis, “Dolemite is my Name”).
Quite a few people have Mouse’s best interest at heart. Among them are a police mentor (William Catlett, “Malcolm”), a young girl he meets (Talia Williams, “Water in a Broken Glass”) and falls for, and even Midnight Clique leader Blax (a surprisingly good Meek Mill) who takes 14-year-old Mouse under his wing. Yet, Mouse soon finds himself torn between the straight-and-narrow and a road filled with fast money and violence.
Which way does he turn?
“Charm City Kings” is the film adaptation of the 2014 documentary “12 O’clock Boys” by Lotfy Nathan. The movie is written by Sherman Payne, with a story by Chris Boyd, Kirk Sullivan, and Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”).
This movie oozes with raw authenticity. It’s a film that will move you and it’s easy to see why “Charm City Kings” won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It’s stunning.
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Look At This Trailer For "CHARM CITY KINGS"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.