Directed and written by Robert Cole this film is a detailed observation on the cycle of violence and drugs as it depicts how even the best intentions are not enough to break these miserable situations. This movie works better if it is seen as a vignette or as episodic/memory about the main character Jahnkor Abraham Lincoln played by the great Ashton Sanders who has a great scene prescense.
Following a sporadic jump in time, we get to see Lincoln in several scenes where violence is the major force in his upbringing. Whereas, Moonlight is quiet and subtle and maybe poetic, All Day and Night is visceral, realistic, and loud. Mako Kamitsuna's editing is bold in the sense that it forces the audience to make the connections between scenes. She doesn't waste time in transitions or explanations about the jumps in time, and it is up to the audience to find a story/plot on their own. Perhaps Cole's intention is to confuse us and create a kind of frustration into trying to figure out what is going on, just like most of the characters in this movie feel about their unescapable situations.
One of the most interesting characters is played by Shakira Ja'nai Paye. She plays Shataye, Lincoln's girlfriend and mother of their son. She is a strong driving force in this movie, and you can't keep your eyes away from her. Her portrayal of a black woman in circumstances beyond her control make her a center for the humanity when you can't do anything but suffer the consequences of somebody else's actions and of your surroundings.
Such grim setting, atmospheric cinematography (by the talented Jessica Le Gagné), and the unescapable situations of the characters probably alienates most of its indented audience. It is not a film that glorifies violence, or gangs, or drugs, but a film that portraits a picture we know is real, but maybe not everybody is ready to accept.
This may be the real power of the movie and its own demise: it illustrates without judgement a situation so close to our present that we are unable to process all of its facets.
After all, to see complete families, friends, and past and present generations in jail for violent crimes is unsettling enough, but to realize we are incapable of making any change, may be unbearable to watch.