THE DAY SHALL COME
Reviewed for Shockya.com & BigAppleReviews.net linked from Rotten Tomatoes by: Harvey Karten
Director: Chris Morris
Screenwriter: Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong
Cast: Marchánt Davis, Danielle Brooks, Anna Kendrick, Denis O’Hare, Andrel McPherson
Screened at: Critics’ link, NYC, 9/20/19
Opens: September 27, 2019
Is it possible that during the student demonstrations against the Vietnam War during the sixties, some of the youths were coaxed by the authorities to do more than burn the flag and their draft cards? Perhaps Molotov cocktails were suggested and agreed to, leading to the arrests of the young people who were flattered by the attention? Today we suffer through an endless war in Afghanistan, though student demonstrators against them are nowhere to be found. Given the relative absence of domestic terrorism, could the FBI, the CIA, the local police and other agencies, fearing a downsizing of their numbers, deliberately use overbearing ways to entrap otherwise innocent people? They could tempt them to buy or sell drugs, guns, bazookas, Molotov cocktails and the like. We are supposed to be able to resist such calls to crime, but sometimes the authorities have ways to convince you to do wrong.
Such is the case in “The Day Shall Come,” directed by Chris Morris, whose “Four Lions” in 2010 about incompetent British terrorists puts him clearly in his métier with this contribution. Though the entrapment attempts are over the top, we are told that such machinations really go on today. In the lead Moses Al Shabaz (Marchánt David), wearing a six-pointed star to symbolize his leadership of a farm community, aims to eliminate “white gentrificators” who are ejecting African-Americans from their homes. Blowing up a nearby crane is in his plans, but for now, Moses is more a pontificator than a real doer, given to swearing allegiance to Black Santa, Jesus, and Haiti’s liberator Toussaint Louverture. He hears God speaking to him through a duck, so who can be more motivated to lead an act of terrorism?
Meanwhile in an FBI office committed to trapping would-be terrorists before they can strike, the authorities under Andy (Denis O’Hare) pressure informant Reza (Kayvan Novak) into entrapping Moses, convincing him to go through with an arms deal to a neo-Nazi group (also working for the law). Agent Kendra Glack (Anna Kendrick) does most of the footwork. Jesse Armstrong and Chris Morris’s script requires Moses and his accomplices—who act more like the Three Stooges than like competent terrorists—to project to us in the audience to remember that this entire film is a comedy, a satirical one that can wake us up to the shenanigans law enforcement agents go through to keep their jobs and grab promotions. While Moses’s wife Venus (Danielle Brooks) is the only normal person in the entire movie, Morris delivers the laughs, and laughing at grandiose people is the best way to take them down.
Kudos especially to Marchánt Davis whose emotional disturbances anchor the movie and its successful and outrageous notions.
87 minutes. © 2019 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – B-
Acting – B+
Technical – B
Overall – B