16 January 2017 | A_Different_Drummer
keep your eye on Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris
The reviewer's dilemma (and it is a dilemma reviewers LOVE to encounter) is, in a superb film with superb acting all around, a superb script, and superb directing, you still need to pay special attention to those actors that, in such a competitive environment, stand out as something "extra" special.
In this mesmerizing film, special attention has to go to two actors who steal every scene they are in and silently promise the viewer that the long and bountiful careers ahead of them will deliver even better performances down the road.
I am referring first to Mahershala Ali, whose magnetic presence made him the centerpiece of Luke Cage (where he competes with, and surpasses, actors with much greater experience). If you watch this actor closely, not only is he in the moment, but his body seems to be in constant motion even when he is sitting still. Like a hummingbird. Awesome to behold and although he has been lately playing characters of "dubious morality" one gets the feeling he could play a hero just as easily.
And then there is the performance of Naomie Harris, a performance so strong and memorable that I began to recall that, in the Golden Age of films, they used to refer to performances like hers as "searing" -- but lately I have not seen the term used very often in a review.
So in honor of Ms. Harris I will say for the record that her performance in this film -- with minimal screen time -- is searing and unforgettable.