What are you prepared to sacrifice to resist injustice? It’s a thorny question, and writer/director Reinaldo Marcus Green—expanding on his 2015 short Stop—explores it deftly through three lives affected by the police killing of an unarmed black man in a Brooklyn neighborhood. Manny (Anthony Ramos) records the incident on his phone, then must decide whether to go public as a witness; African-American cop Dennis Williams (John David Washington) wrestles with whose side he’s on during the ensuing controversy; and high-school baseball prospect Zyric (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) contemplates risking his future by taking action. Green presents the segments sequentially rather than intercut, in stand-alone 30-minute episodes, and that choice proves to be a smart one in building both the performances and the consequences of the characters’ individual moral choices. There’s also a simple power in the way Green constructs and edits characters’ interactions with police, creating quiet tension in the knowledge that violence might erupt at any moment. There’s nothing simple about the reasons these three men do what they do, and it’s empowering to observe how often change simply comes down to a choice.
Director: Reinaldo Green
Producer: Luca Borghese, Julia Lebedev, Josh Penn, Elizabeth Lodge, Eddie Vaisman, Chiara Bernasconi, Leonid Lebedev, Oren Moverman and Noah Stahl
Cast: John Washington, Anthony Ramos, Kelvin Jr., Chanté Adams, Jasmine Jones and Nicole Beharie