Director: Hiro Murai
Release Date: April 8th 2019
The debate is no longer necessary. Donald Glover is hands down the most multi-talented man in Hollywood. Guava Island, his 56 minute film is more fuel added to the fire. From winning Song and Record of the Year at the Grammys, to taking home trophies for both Outstanding Director Outstanding Actor for a Comedy Series at the Emmys, Glover has proven himself more than capable of excelling in whatever he choices to do. This film is no exception.
Directed by Hiro Murai and written by Stephen Glover, frequent collaborators on the phenomenal FX TV show “Atlanta” you would assume that Guava Island would have a similar feel to the show. That however is not the case. The film begins with a wonderful animated folk tale painting. A vivid picture of Guava Island’s history, while telling the story of the films main characters Deni Maroon (Donald Glover) and Kofi Novia (Rihanna). Maroon is a local celebrity musician on the island. He wants to put on a music festival for his hard working people. Red Cargo (Nonso Anozie) serves as a dictator, he runs the majority of businesses on the island and lives a lavish life-style compared to the other residents. Red doesn’t want Maroon to put on his festival because it would halt productivity and his cash flow.
Guava Island is a musical/drama and commentary on America and capitalism, highlighting the more negative sides and uneven balance to the system. Also drawing comparisons to Prince’s Purple Rain, though significantly shorter in length and subject matter. Songs such as This Is America, Summertime Magic, and Feels Like Summer were woven into the film with extreme precision and great choreography. The cinematography by Christian Sprenger does Cuba justice as the film is visually sound. Donald Glover gives a stand out performance as he dances and sings his way through the film, while the others do a fine job as well; they just don’t command the attention like Donald does throughout.
The only downside to the film is the run time. It’s short, but sometimes short and sweet is all that you need. The movie excels because you can’t go wrong with the three headed monster right now (Donald, Hiro, Stephen). The Lebron, Wade, Bosh trio of the entertainment business. Luckily for us it seems like they are only getting better with time. If you are hoping to see more from them it may be a while. With The Lion King around the corner (which Glover stars in) and his alter ego Childish Gambino poking his head out to drop his final album, we may have to wait until season three of Atlanta to experience the big 3 again. If the product remains this stellar, Glover can take as long as he wants.