"The Land"

This film is “ATL” meets “Chronicle” in the way Cleveland is put on the map onscreen. One summer changes the lives of four teenage boys who dream of stardom as skateboarders with the dire circumstances of their upbringing. I’m left asking this question: what is life like when you don’t have to care?

Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Moises Arias, Rafi Gavron and Ezri Walker breathe distinct and daring performances. The actors push youth, rebellion, consequences and exploration to the edge. Cleveland native Machine Gun Kelly gives a solid and brief performance as a store clerk. Erykah Badu is wonderful and bare as Turquoise. Natalie Martinez is powerful as Evelyn. Michael K. Williams has one of the most recognizable voices with smooth swagger as Pops. Linda Emond, Laura Allen, Robert Hunter, Melvin Gregg and Kim Coates form a remarkable supporting cast. Casting Director JC Cantu & Liilian Pyles created wonders with the talent.

Writer and Director Steven Caple Jr. delivered a film from his heart. While Cleveland does not seem much different than any other city, this is the crux of the film. There are slow points in the film but jaws will be dropped when it picks up. While the premise is something the screen has experienced before, there are extraordinary parts weaved into the film. There is a contradiction of sorts with the story. Charles King, Nas and Erykah Badu produced the film. Jongnic Bontemps crafted a stellar score with a lot of music by Pusha T.

You can stream this film on Netflix.