A dark satire about the relationship between the government and the people which it is supposed to serve, The Day Shall Come is the newest film from Christopher Morris (Four Lions) and co-written by Jesse Armstrong (Succession). Although a bit on-the-nose at times, this is a very funny and surprisingly hard-hitting movie.
The film follows an impoverished black leader as he is targeted by the FBI because of his revolutionary dreams to become a terrorist to be used as a success story for the government’s counter-terrorism program. Obviously satirical and over-the-top, but still earnest, the twists and turns of this story are legitimately unpredictable, which is increasingly rare for comedies these days.
While it may seem ridiculous that the FBI would target and falsely accuse someone like the protagonist of being a terrorist, this movie is able to effectively illustrate one of the biggest problems facing our society today: hysteria. In this day and age, paranoia and hysteria towards terrorism has reached such a height that the government can be driven to find a scapegoat. This film addresses that issue with a comedic edge.
Granted, the humor isn’t of the most varied nature. A good amount of the movie’s humor comes from the FBI agents making a fool of themselves because things do not go according to their plan. In a way, the comedy plays out like a darker version of what one would see in a kid’s cartoon. Regardless, it does a good job of keeping the film enjoyable and delivering the message.
The character development in the movie is also rather effective. All of the characters are presented in a moral grey area. Although Moses is the de facto protagonist, the film doesn’t portray him as a total hero, nor are the FBI agents portrayed as a villain. Rather, they are all just people struggling to make a positive impact on the world in their own way, driving them in different, but both flawed directions.
Marchánt Davis gives what is sure to be a breakout turn as Moses, giving a turn that is filled with so much vulnerability and emotion. Even though the supporting cast has some recognizable faces including Anna Kendrick, Jim Gaffigan, and Dennis O’Hare, Davis is the person about whom people will be talking about after the fact.
On a technical level, the movie is rough, but that seems to be a stylistic decision. The cinematography, production design, and editing are all very gritty and hectic, but this helps the film create a feeling of urgency that pushes the movie along. By no means is this a pretty movie to look at, but the subject matter that the film addresses isn’t particularly pretty either.
Although the comedic approach to a serious issue may be off-putting to some, The Day Shall Come is an excellent and topical comedy. Thanks to a witty script and great performances, this is a movie that will stick with its audience for quite a while.
The Day Shall Come hits theaters and VOD on September 27.