Cinema Review: Night Comes On | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, April 6th, 2020  

Night Comes On

Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Directed by Jordana Spiro

Aug 02, 2018 Web Exclusive
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As Night Comes On opens, Angel (Dominique Fishback) is about to turn 18 just as she is preparing to be released from a juvenile detention center. It turns out Angel has a bit of a history with the law, but the reason she was in the detention center was for the possession of a firearm. Just mere hours after her release Angel is at someone's house buying a new gun, which makes you wonder why this young woman would want to risk giving up her newly retained freedom.

Director Jordana Spiro, who co-wrote the film with Angelica Nwandu, takes a simple but empathetic look at Angel's journey. She is released but has nowhere to go. Angel is a fiery tornado of contradictions; she needs all the help in the world but can't bring herself to ask for it and she's far too proud to accept it. Her mother died when she was younger and she doesn't have much of a relationship with her father, as the film explores as it progresses. Angel has been on her own most of her young life.

One of her first stops is to find her younger sister Abby (Tatum Marilyn Hall) and a parental bond becomes obvious between the two. Angel cares very much for Abby but she has her own agenda in mind, which at times supersedes her care for Abby. Over a scant 80 minutes, Night Comes On follows the sisters as the travel in the search of catharsis.

Night Comes On is told through Angel's observations and Spiro firmly establishes us in her world. Much of the movie feels lived-in and real, immersing us in Angel's world and along her path without an ounce of judgment for the character. Things haven't been easy for Angel and she might not have always made the right decision but Spiro doesn't want us to make any decision on how we should feel about Angel; she merely wants us to exist with her.

As a directorial debut, Night Comes On might feel slim and meandering through its short runtime but Spiro skillfully builds to an emotional ending. Night Comes On sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

Author rating: 8/10

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