The new black and white film (made during the pandemic) by Sam Levinson takes place after a lavish premiere where a writer/director character gets much plaudits.
John David Washington is that filmmaker, Malcolm of Malcolm & Marie who must come to terms with his relationship with model partner Marie, done with bellowing bluster by Zendaya.
While a pretentious air does take over, Levinson does make the most out of his premise using occupation, vanity, and injurious acts and angst for a while. It’s a back-and-forth with a certain pizzazz and style gravitating from a quarantine aspect as ambivalence is projected onto personal trauma.
Politics and race are part of the amusing, dissecting rant concerning unsubtle film criticism as character shading within each frame within a Malibu beach house makes for a kind of episodic, epicurean stage effort. Dynamism and discord of a pairing might end up in a typical, volatile manner as Levinson can render this hashing out of feelings with tiresome highfalutin ripostes.
Washington (the unnamed protagonist in the time-inversion actioner Tenet endows the ebb and flow of Malcolm with urbaneness through Zendaya has a little more fair for the uncomfortable probing of the Assassination Nation filmmaker. This ‘timely’ two-hander can be a bit self-conscious for its own good, but the nuance and personal awareness provides or a more interesting than fun experience.