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‘Summer of Violence’ – Review

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CinemaBlind’s Review – 80%

Summer of Violence is a deeply personal and moving film that will surely break your heart by the end. Written and directed by Nicki Micheaux, the drama film’s title is inspired by real events that happened in Denver in the 1990s and that’s when the film is set where we meet our protagonist Naomi, who moves to Denver after graduating because her career choice was not of her father’s liking.

We meet Naomi on the day of her graduation from law school and she is all set to join a law firm, but her passion lies in poetry, and when she tells her father that he refuses to give her emotional and financial support. This forces Naomi to move to Denver with her friend Pam, soon after getting there she witnesses the fear and violence that is ever present in her neighborhood. To fight against that she decides that she needs to spread love through her poetry so that people can feel supported and unafraid.

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I know this premise might seem a bit childish, and sometimes it is but that doesn’t mean that it’s not powerful enough to move you to tears. Summer of Violence feels like a sincere attempt at dealing with the real-life tragedies happening every day and while I am not familiar with the real-life events, Micheaux does a wonderful job of portraying the terror people felt during those times.

Summer of Violence Selected for Pan African Film Festival
Credit – Summer Of Violence, LLC

The cinematography by Ben Kitchens is also commendable, as it looks very beautiful, personal, and in some moments terrifying. Micheaux’s poetry in the film is also very moving, and that’s a big thing because most of the emotional beats in the film are conveyed through the wonderfully heartbreaking poetry by Micheaux. The love story in the film could have been developed a little bit more but for what it is, it does a good enough job of getting us to feel for these characters.

Kasey Inez puts forth an incredible leading performance for almost all of the runtime but some of the performances by supporting actors are not as good and feel a bit wooden sometimes. Damon Gupton also gives a great and complex performance as Naomi’s father in the short time he is given. Summer of Violence also stars Jahking Guillory as Frank and Madhulika Krishnan as Pam.

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The film is produced by Nicki Micheaux, Efuru Flowers, Sean Riggs, Maureen Mottley, Brian Mitchell, and Stelio Savante. Executive Producers are Johnny Wimbrey, Brian Mitchell, Sonya Marchand, Crystal Wimbrey, Psalms Wimbrey, Hannah Wimbrey and Nicki Micheaux.

In conclusion, Summer of Violence is an incredible film that attempts to deal with some very heavy topics, and while sometimes it falls a bit short, but the raw moments in the film make it all worth it.

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