‘The Day Shall Come’ lacks killer instinct
The Day Shall Come is a likable but lackadaisical satire that marks writer/director Chris Morris’s first feature since Four Lions nearly a decade ago.
Billed as being “based on a hundred stories,” this amiable but aimless comedy details an FBI sting operation in South Beach. The target is Moses Al Shabaz (Marchant Davis), a local activist who fronts what he calls a “black jihad.” There are only a handful of soldiers in his “movement” – not including family members – and it’s fairly evident that the good-natured, if self-deluded, Moses is hardly a threat to national security, as he preaches equality, charity and nonviolence.
Even Kendra Glack (Anna Kendrick), the agent charged with funding Moses’s ministry, soon realizes that Moses is essentially harmless, but is irresistibly swept up in the conflicting interests of the operation, represented by aggressive local cops and her boss (Denis O’Hare). To them, Moses is a perfect mark – particularly when it comes to fueling their ambitions. Kendra’s pleas for common sense go ignored.
Moses, meanwhile, guilelessly goes on about his business, attempting to procure first automatic weapons and then nukes, simply in the hope of providing for his family and his community outreach efforts, utterly unaware that he’s under constant surveillance.
The cast, including Danielle Brooks (as Moses’s exasperated wife), James Adomian (as an obnoxious cop), Jim Gaffigan, Adam David Thompson and Michael Braun, is certainly game. Still, the necessary screwball touch needed to give the story heft and irony is, for the most part, absent.
Unlike the thematically similar American Hustle (2013) or War Dogs (2016), both of which were based on specific cases, The Day Shall Come rambles along toward an ending that has more potency than what has preceded it. It’s a nice try, and a pleasant time-killer, but there’s the unmistakable feeling that, with a little more care, this could – and should – have been sharper.
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