High Flying Bird (yes, the movie that was shot on an iPhone) is out today, starring Andre Holland and directed by Steven Soderbergh. So, I’m momentarily handing over the keys to @AlannaBennett to talk about it (thread):
High Flying Bird is frenetic and poetic — it's the kind of movie that's ~about~ a lot (the commodification of bodies – especially black bodies!) but it doesn't bog you down in the weight of the history it's built on. It's also full to the brim of black excellence.
The screenplay is by Tarell Alvin McCraney, the brilliant playwright behind Moonlight, so you already KNOW he's a master at stories that grapple with the historical context of the black body.
This is a film about the way corporations try to claim ownership of people and their bodies. As A.O. Scott said in his review for NYT, it's essentially a story about how workers should seize control of the means of production. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/movies/high-flying-bird-review.html
And all of these elements are, of course, made more layered and more urgent when the people in question are largely black and the story is taking place in the United States.
It's heavy stuff. Zazie Beetz's character literally reads Harry Edwards' "The Revolt of the Black Athlete," and the film's title is based on the song "High Flying Bird" by Richie Havens.
But what I find interesting is that McCraney's screenplay makes exploring some pretty bleak themes feel like a wild ride instead of an emotional slog.
That's a feat, and it's helped along by the expertise of performers like André Holland. And can we TALK about André? Put this man in every movie. Like literally. Right now.
Honestly, this whole cast is wild. Zazie Beetz, Melvin Gregg, Bill Duke, and Sonja Sohn. They all sell the massive amounts of banter McCraney piled in here. David Sims wrote in The Atlantic that the dialogue "sings with intelligence and wit." https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/02/high-flying-bird-netflix-review-steven-soderbergh-nba-basketball/582247/
The Low-Budget Netflix Film Where NBA Players Overturn the System
Steven Soderbergh’s 'High Flying Bird,' which is shot entirely on iPhones, tells a fascinating story about upending the business of professional basketball.https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2019/02/high-flying-bird-netflix-review-steven-soderbergh-nba-basketball/582247/
Basically, there's a lot to dissect in this movie. It made me think a lot about worth, how people are exploited by inflexible systems that don't care about the actual humans earning them money – and about the ways U.S. history amplifies that hurt.
The whole thing feels anchored in a beautiful way by McCraney and Holland. Certainly two of the great talents our world has right now, and a dream team from Moonlight before this. We have been blessed.