This film will make your rightfully uncomfortable. Collin (Daveed Diggs) is just working to stay away from trouble in the three days before he gets off of parole. What seems like a simple 72 hours is not after he witnesses a black man murdered by a police officer (Ethan Embry). Alongside his best friend Miles (Rafael Casal), Collin further falls into the reality of his gentrifying neighborhood.
Daveed Diggs is sensational in the emotion of Collin taking care of himself, supporting his best friend and growing as a black man amidst the changes of his city. Janina Gavankar as Val is wonderful. She is smart, wise and also protective. There is a tender scene between Collin and Val. Jasmine Cephas Jones carries her character Ashley with humor and ambition to care for her family. Ziggy Baitinger plays Miles and Ashley's son Ziggy sharply as his character can inherit what the city is becoming. Tisha Campbell is commanding. Utkarsh Ambudkar, Kevin Carroll and Wayne Knight (Newman!) round a strong supporting cast.
Director Carlos Lopez Estrada paints Oakland through the camera with bountiful strokes. Writers Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal craft the love of their hometown along with the changes and issues impacting America. It was fascinating that Collin and Miles work for a moving company. A felon and a violatile man are trusted with other people's belongings. Another compelling part of the story is that Collin runs through a cemetery, which calls for a emotional scene towards the end of the film. Oakland slang is central to these characters as their last sense that nothing in their city has changed.
Listening to Daveed and Rafael on various podcasts that I listen to, I understood that much of the film was written years before Daveed's success in "Hamilton". However, you can see the inspiration of prose, poetry and rap throughout, which heightens the story. There are plentiful scenes that are meaningful. There were a couple unnecessary ones to amplify the tension. I appreciate the film for being preachy. It is funny just as it is dramatic, a striking balance to depict the times we live in.