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Man to Man

Critic:

Brian Penn

|

Posted on:

11 Jun 2022

Film Reviews
Man to Man
Directed by:
Shehroze Khan
Written by:
Selorm Adonu
Starring:
David Harewood, Selorm Adonu, Noah Tagon
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The relationship between father and son always feels like master and apprentice; the wise owl counselling the youngster as they make their way in life. The old world clashes with the new as two generations search for the dividing line. When does a father decide his son is old enough to make independent decisions? Such dilemma lies at the heart of this excellent short film by Shehroze Khan.

 

Dion (Selorm Adonu) has been badly beaten in a fight at school; his father Malcolm (David Harewood) resolves to teach him the finer points of boxing and they head for the local gym. Dion is a sensitive, intelligent boy who only wants to please his father. But the tough guy act isn’t really his style and would rather draw strength from knowledge and not muscle. He is torn between what he thinks and what his father wants to hear. Malcolm is determined to protect his son by teaching him to defend himself. Younger brother Micah (Noah Tagon) anxiously watches as the pair spar with each other in the ring.

 

A sharp script crackles with tension as Dion and Malcolm trade mental blows while they work out. The visual sequencing cleverly intersperses shots of them talking and then boxing in full kit. They each have their own perception of racism and contrasting views on how to deal with it. It almost becomes an historical study of American civil rights. Malcolm represents the aggressive approach much like his namesake Malcolm X. Meanwhile Dion adopts the more cerebral tools of persuasion and intellect, which is reminiscent of Dr Martin Luther King.

 

The film benefits hugely from the presence of David Harewood, who adds gravitas to Malcolm’s character and raises the story’s profile. Selorm Adonu comfortably matches the performance of his more illustrious co-star and looks to be a writer of great potential. Noah Tagon as Micah also makes the most of his part and delivers some telling lines of his own. The editing felt a bit choppy, especially where scenarios are played out in Dion’s head. However, this is a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent piece showcasing an exciting new talent.

About the Film Critic
Brian Penn
Brian Penn
Short Film