Throughout cinema’s history, gangster life has often been depicted in glamorous fashion with an endless access to drugs, guns, women, sports cars, and mansions. Even if these lives are short-lived, filmmakers have long venerated their excess, and one glance at popular culture confirms audiences have reciprocated the fascination. For the characters of Dayveon, however, this way of life is grounded in economic necessity. With the ensemble of mostly non-actors never less than utterly convincing, Amman Abbasi’s debut drama is captivating in its immediacy, despite a script that doesn’t feel fully formed Ahead of a release this fall, the first trailer has now landed.

“Utilizing a 4:3 ratio, cinematographer Dustin Lane takes a page from the Robbie Ryan handbook with his symmetrical framing and vibrant color palette reminiscent of the films of Andrea Arnold, finding beauty in both the Arkansas skyline and the black bodies that command the frame,” I said in my review. “A hyper-stylized effect is also used, perhaps overly so, which with its sped-up frame-rate and over-blown colors gives the impression of a home movie. Often shooting from the hip as the camera weaves in and out of conversations, our perspective is embedded into the life of Dayveon, strengthening our empathy for his situation.”

Check out the trailer below for the film executive produced by David Gordon Green and James Schamus.

Struggling with the recent gunshot death of his older brother, Dayveon (newcomer Devin Blackmon) spends the sweltering summer days roaming his rural Arkansas town. In such a seemingly dead end world, the camaraderie offered by the local gang scene is difficult to resist, and Dayveon soon gets jumped in. Though his older sister Kim and her boyfriend Bryan try their best to provide a stable home life and an outlet for his feelings, a fight or flight mission early on with his new squad will be the ultimate test of his allegiance and mettle. Director Amman Abbasi—who also wrote, edited and composed the music for the film—developed the script with input from local gang members and cast his movie entirely with non-professional actors from the area. With its evocative visual language and strong sense of place, his striking first feature marks the young Arkansas-based filmmaker as an exciting new talent to watch.


Dayveon opens on September 13.

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