Monday, August 6, 2018

Jinn - Review


Written and Directed by Directed by Nijla Mu'min

Produced by Elton Brand, Angela Harvey, Jason Kampf, Mike C. Manning, Shandra L. McDonald, Amy McGary, Kristen McGary, Billy Mulligan and Tommy Oliver.

Cinematography by Bruce Francis Cole

Starring: Zoe Renee, Simone Missick, Hisham Tawfiq, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Dorian Missick.

Summary: Summer is a 17-year old carefree black girl, whose world is turned upside down when her mother, a popular meteorologist named Jade Jennings, abruptly converts to Islam and becomes a different person, prompting Summer to reevaluate her identity.

REVIEW: What a wonderful coming of age story featuring a brown girl as its lead. It’s not often I see an intelligent, heartwarming story about young black people that’s not about inner city crime and or its residual effects on black life. This film is about another aspect of black life, one that isn’t often explored in film and a religion that isn’t often politicized and or ‘weaponized” as a storytelling device in a spy/action movie–Islam.

Left to right: Zoe Renee and Simone Missick
I’m not a Muslim, but having many close family members of the faith, I know a lot about it and this film captured it perfectly. All the tenets are there and it’s not heavy handed or watered down. If there ever was a perfect blend of the faith with an everyday relatable story this is it.

Zoe Renee (center) and Kelvin Harrison Jr. (right)
The performances by the cast are great including the lead Zoe Renee who plays 17-year old Summer to perfection. She is instantly relatable, lovable and real. You never think she’s a perfect angel, but she isn’t a miscreant either. She’s the perfect blend of what adolescents usually are–evolving. Also great is Kelvin Harrison Jr. as her love interest in the film "Tahir". Their chemistry comes off as sweet and sincere without being saccharine.

Simone Missick (known as “Misty Knight” from Luke Cage, pictured below) as her mother is also great and gives a really heartfelt performance as a woman and mom who is evolving herself.

Everything about this picture succeeds because of the wonderful tone by writer/director Nijla Mu'min. This picture have really been heavy handed and trite or really maudlin, but never was. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Bruce Francis Cole, every scene, every shot perfectly escalated the story in a natural organic way.

This film is an achievement in every aspect and one of the best independent films I’ve seen this year!

Notes: I saw this film this past weekend at the 7th Annual Blackstar Film Festival in Philadelphia where this happened.

And previously
No word yet on when this film will be widely released, but I'll be sure to update this review with those details. Until then you can watch the trailer below and below that visit the film's website.

Orion Classics announced today [August 14, 2018] that they have acquired the North American and Latin American rights to Jinn. Orion Classics has set a theatrical release for the drama on Nov. 15 followed by a Nov. 16 release on VOD and Digital HD.–Deadline

by clicking the graphic below