One Night In Miami

One night in Miami film still

One Night In Miami is set on the night that Cassius Clay becomes world heavyweight champion - Credit: Amazon Studios

One Night In Miami. Directed by Regina King. Starring Ben-Adir Kingsley, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr, Lance Reddick and Michel Imperioli. Streaming on Amazon Prime from December 25th.  Running time: 111 mins. Star rating: ***

The night is February 25th 1964 and Cassius Clay (Goree) has just become the World Heavyweight champion by pounding Sonny Liston into submission.

Sam Cooke (Odom) and legendary NFL running back Jim Brown (Hodge) are there to celebrate with him. For this one night in Miami the world is their oyster. Unfortunately, the victory party is being thrown by teetotal Nation of Islam bore Malcolm X (Kingsley) who chucks a great big wet blanket on the euphoria by having these four prominent black men discuss their position in the struggle. The only indulgence is vanilla ice cream.

It's based on a play by Kemp Powers, co-creator of latest Pixar animation Soul . So, once the movie has manoeuvred the four main characters into Mr X's motel room, the drama is about rotating them into a series of one-on-one conversations and group slanging matches about how each of them is using their exceptional talents to advance the position of black people in America.

The theatrical mechanics take a lot of the steam out of it: it feels a little demeaning to have four such prominent figures dancing to the playwright's tune but the performances make it worthwhile.


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