The political thriller “88,” written and directed (and produced and edited) by Eromose, feeds the audience a lot of information about today’s campaign finance laws and the ways they enable corruption. The film reaches its first boiling point 40 minutes in, and has further surprises in store.
Femi Jackson (Brandon Victor Dixon), the beleaguered financial manager of a super PAC backing the presidential candidate Harold Roundtree (Orlando Jones), uncovers a scheme linked to the movie’s title and that number’s connection to Nazis, both old school and new.
“It doesn’t matter where the money comes from if no one ever looks,” one snakelike character connected to the PAC tries to reassure another. But Femi is looking, and he makes increasingly disturbing discoveries along the way.
The tenor of this fervent picture comes through at Femi’s breakfast table early in the movie. Complaining that their young son Ola (Jeremiah King) wants a Wakanda-themed birthday party, Femi’s wife, Maria (Naturi Naughton), begins a trenchant denunciation of “Black Panther,” saying Wakanda is a fantasy for the benefit of the white corporate entities that finance it. Trying to de-escalate the debate, Femi wryly observes of the first “Panther” movie, “It made a billion dollars.” Maria shoots back, “For who?”
Eromose is a sharp thinker with a lot on his mind — and the inability to resist the urge to cram it all into a single movie. Sobriety, the inequities of banking practices, the “talk” Black parents have with their children about the police and, of course, capitalism — all these topics and more come under examination here. Combined with the increasingly “Parallax View”-like plot machinations, the result is dramatically wonky — and eccentrically thought-provoking.
Not rated. Running time: 2 hours 2 minutes. In theaters.
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