“One Night in Miami”: The new movie to watch at home on weekends
Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke enter a bar. It is the biggest project of the actress Regina King to date.
The film is 1h54 long.
February 25, 1964. Cassius Clay was 22 when he unexpectedly defeated Sonny Liston in Miami to become the boxing heavyweight champion. American soccer star Jim Brown, who even commented on the game on the radio, was hoping for a big party in a luxury hotel to celebrate his victory.
Only Cassius Clay had other plans. The boxer preferred to party in a small hotel that was frequented by the black community at the time, the Hampton House Motel, and took Jim Brown, his close friend, with him. Also there were activist Malcolm X and singer Sam Cooke.
The private and specific conversations these four African American icons had that night – surrounded by others in the motel bar – are unknown. But it is true that Cassius Clay announced the next morning that he was a proud member of the Nation of Islam, an anti-integration activist organization. Shortly thereafter, he adopted a new name that would become known forever: Muhammad Ali.
Last Friday, January 15, a new film premiered on the Amazon Prime Video streaming platform, imagining what could have happened that night. “One Night in Miami” is the biggest project ever made by the famous actress Regina King.
It is an adaptation of a play that premiered in 2013 by Kemp Powers (one of the writers and directors of Pixar’s newest film, Soul, which also portrays the African American community).
The film imagines the post-battle celebration that brought these four characters together – and dramatizes the inspiring and crucial conversations they may have had. In their respective fields, men discuss how best to achieve black equality in American society at this time.
“This play is simply about a night, four friends, and the many important decisions that can be made in one single but insightful way,” Powers wrote in a 2013 essay about his show.
A real picture of the night (reconstructed in the highlight picture).
Starting from a real basis, the dialogues that are present in the play – and in the film – are of course fictitious ideas of what could have been said. Apparently the four friends are leaving fresh from that night. And with new unfulfilled purposes.
For example, Sam Cooke records the famous song “A Change is Gonna Come” (which was recorded before the fight in real life) and Cassius Clay transforms his identity, influenced by his friends.
Malcolm X and Jim Brown believed that the world boxing title was not only a great accomplishment in itself, but could also be used as a platform to make a difference and demand change.
Basically, “One Night in Miami” reflects these historical figures and the problems of American society in the 1960s, especially racism and segregation – which also remain topical and relevant from other perspectives.
The production is 1h54 and the cast includes names such as Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Lance Reddick, Christian Magby, Nicolette Robinson, Michael Imperioli and Lawrence Gilliard Jr ..
You can also read NiT’s article about “Uncle Frank” – the Amazon film that came out in 2020 and which almost no one has seen, but which everyone should see – and discover it in the “Sound of Metal” catalog, which NiT as of the best films of the past year.