This is a film that I have been looking forward to for a while. I am a massive fan of Chris Morris, from his work on TV with The Day Today and Brass Eye to his previous film Four Lions, Morris has shown himself to be one of the best satirists working today and I have been eagerly awaiting his next film. I have to say, this was worth the wait and is one of the best comedies I’ve seen this year.
The film follows Moses Al Shabbaz, the leader of a small religious community in Miami, with his wife, daughter and three other followers. Whilst he preaches the overthrow of white America, his organisation, the Star of Six, is an amalgamation of several religions and important figures, whilst Moses is a pacifist and believes animals can speak to him. Moses’ sermons though grab the attention of FBI agent Kendra Glack, who hopes to set up Moses as the leader of a terrorist cell planning criminal activities in order to impress her boss and get the FBI a win. As the film goes on we see the extent to which the FBI will manipulate Moses and how Moses’ eccentricities complicate matters for the FBI. Now the satire of the film works brilliantly to show how the FBI manipulates people into becoming terrorists, manufacturing threats to make themselves look better and create the image that the FBI is vital. We see the lengths the FBI will go to, including selling weapons and creating bombs for the specific purpose of them not being used so they can create threats. We even see that the FBI has a lawyer on hand during everything they do to make sure they can get around any legal technicalities with what they are doing. This also shows how the FBI blackmails people into working with them, with two characters threatened with jail/deportation unless they work with the FBI. This works well in contrast to what we see of Moses. The film shows Moses to be a good person, albeit one who has some delusions and who probably should take the anti-psychotic medication he was prescribed. A lot of his ethos is about providing a better life for the black community where he lives, creating a community farm instead of having his followers join the drug trade, with Moses destroying guns when he gets the chance. It’s to the extent that when Moses is first offered weapons by the FBI’s mole, he only wants farming equipment and only takes guns when he’s offered money with them, which he intends to use to pay his rent, and even then, Moses planned to deactivate the guns and use them as fences. We see how Kendra is affected by having to destroy a good person and, whilst she does still go ahead with her plan, we see the moral issues she has.
The performances help to sell the film effectively as well. Marchant Davis as Moses is excellent, showing the more eccentric and weird side of Moses to great comedic effect, whilst also showing a softer side, working well with Danielle Brooks, who plays Moses’ wife and who is the only person not to fall for what the FBI is doing, with their scenes early on in the film showing Moses to be someone genuinely worried about the way the world is moving, using his role in the Star of Six to create some change. As the film goes on, we see how effective the FBI manipulation is, even when Moses is still trying to be a good person, with his fate being decided for him, having no control over what happens. Anna Kendrick as Kendra meanwhile gets some great comedic moments, especially when interacting with the other FBI agents in some strong moments of dark comedy, whilst also showing the moral issue at the heart of her character, especially when she has to talk with Moses directly, putting a human face to what she is doing. There are also good comedic performances from Kayvan Novak, Denis O’Hare, Jim Gaffigan, Malcolm Mays and Miles Robbins.
Overall, The Day Shall Come is a very effective satire that reminds us how good a satirist Chris Morris is. Whilst it is hard to review a good comedy without giving away all of the jokes, I found this to be a hilarious film, albeit in the darkest possible way, with the performances, particularly Marchant Davis and Anna Kendrick, selling the dark satire at the heart of the film.
My Rating: 5/5