Kings of the Evening | Chicago Reader

Kings of the Evening

99 minutes

Zulu for swank, oswenkas are the weekly amateur style shows that impoverished African males began staging in Johannesburg in the mid-20th century. Inspired by a news article on the subject, director Andrew P. Jones collaborated with his father, Robert Page Jones, to write and produce this dramatic feature transplanting the ritual to the American south during the Depression. A former jailbird (Tyson Beckford, well cast) finds self-respect and community in a beleaguered town and helps his landlady (Lynn Whitfield) and fellow boarders rise above adversity. An intrusive musical score and periodic fades to black, as for commercials, make this feel as if it were made for TV, but otherwise it's exceptional, from script and performances to production design. With Glynn Turman, Reginald T. Dorsey, and Linara Washington.

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