The Last Black Man In San Francisco: BRWC LFF Review. The stunning opening sequence is a sign of things to come in this absolutely wonderful film from debut filmmaker Joe Talbot, that works both as an ode to a city and a friendship, and a moving tale of the search for one’s identity.
The Last Black Man In San Francisco is loosely based on the life of Talbot’s childhood best friend, Jimmy Fails, who plays himself in the film; a man obsessed with reclaiming the home his grandfather built years ago. His idyllic view of the city is fading, as the world changes and moves on without him, and he begins to feel more like a stranger in his own town.
When it comes to telling a human story in the most visceral and creative way imaginable, Talbot’s film is cinema in the truest sense. It’s a much-needed reminder of why we all love it so much; an artistic vision that hits hard, takes breaths away, and feels special.
Jimmy Fails’ central performance is heartfelt and clearly personal, as his search for belonging becomes a greater struggle as the film progresses, and Jonathan Majors’ performance as his best friend, Mont, is a real highlight here. There are so many layers to his portrayal of this relatively complex character, and the film’s already fascinating study of male friendship is brought to life by the chemistry the two actors share. The history these people share feels truthful, and there’s a real sense of finality about it that builds with every scene.
Talbot’s comedic approach is no disservice to the story; rather, it’s precisely this that gives the film the life and energy that it has. This is a human story told with an almost surrealist approach; perfectly balanced and completely original.
The Last Black Man In San Francisco is one of the most picturesque films you’ll see this year; a stunningly beautiful use of the art form; at once poignant, political, tragic, funny and always human. It’s a cinematic vision that feels completely unique, absolutely teeming with life, energy and passion; a truly wonderful picture.
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