starring Dominique Fishback, John Jelks, Max Casella, Tatum Marilyn Hill
written by Jordana Spiro and Angelica Nwandu
directed by Jordana Spiro
by Alice Stoehr Social workers reel off exposition: this cagey black girl in their midst is Angel (Dominique Fishback), nearly 18. She has a 10-year-old sister, Abigail, but hasn't seen her in a couple years. Since their mother's death (at their father's hands), Angel's been in foster homes and juvenile detention. Now she's on parole and plans to stay with her girlfriend. These government employees briskly summarize her life while the camera holds her in close-up. It's efficient filmmaking that establishes both the heroine's circumstances and the system that's confined her. Moments later, she's out on the street, looking for someplace to charge her phone. So begins Night Comes On, the debut feature from white actress-turned-director Jordana Spiro, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Angelica Nwandu. Its 80 minutes will chart Angel's next 48 hours as she pursues an objective of which her caseworkers are unaware: to acquire both a handgun and her father's new address. The film extends outwards from this premise in a straight line. First she meets with the father of her former cellmate, a scumbag dealing in black market firearms. (Max Casella plays him the same way Harvey Keitel might've a few decades earlier.) A phone call interrupts their negotiations, which have involved him groping her; to buy time, he has his wife stop at the store for milk. On Angel's way out, he hands her a half-gallon jug from the fridge. "Do me a favour," he says. "Throw this out." A beat later she's outside tossing the jug against a wall with casual disdain.