Kings of the Evening

3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

In its opening scene, this Depression-era drama appears to be the story of a prisoner’s return to society: The camera descends into the fields to introduce us to Homer (Beckford), who’s been unjustly jailed for stealing to feed his family. But once Homer relocates to a small Southern town, the focus widens to the ensemble. There’s Lucy (Washington), a seamstress who struggles to hold down a job in a factory that shows no mercy to its employees; Gracie (Whitfield), a widowed boarding-house proprietress who’s lost her sense of dignity; and Clarence (Turman), a ne’er-do-well who just needs a little confidence. The two men compete to perform in a weekly contest to be crowned “king of the evening” for the town’s African-American community. For them, it’s a way to stay optimistic even when they’re down-and-out.

A hit at last summer’s Black Harvest Film Festival, the movie resourcefully evokes its setting on a low budget, despite scoring that’s a little overbearing at times (and at least one plot thread whose outcome smacks of wish fulfillment). Modestly scaled and well-acted, the film gets a lot of small details right without winding up anywhere in particular.

By: Ben Kenigsberg



Release details

0 mins

Cast and crew

Andrew P. Jones
Robert Page Jones
Tyson Beckford
Linara Washington
Lynn Whitfield
Glynn Turman
Reginald T. Dorsey
James Russo
Lou Myers
Willard E. Pugh
You may also like