starring Zendaya, John David Washington
written and directed by Barry Levinson's son
by Walter Chaw An eight-minute diatribe is the noxious centre of Sam Levinson's intolerable ego trip Malcolm & Marie, distinct neither for the obnoxious volume at which it's delivered nor for the hollowness of its content, but because it manages to stand out at all, coming as it does in the middle of the other shouted invectives that form the rest of it. In this diatribe, flavour-of-the-moment, hotshot movie director Malcolm (John David Washington), on the night of the premiere of his well-received debut, reads a glowing early review by "that white lady at the L.A. Times" and rails on about "woke" culture and how he, as a Black director, is only compared to other Black directors as opposed to people like William Wyler and Billy Wilder? Does he mean real directors, or does he mean white directors? Does he mean that he doesn't like to be compared to John Singleton and Spike Lee because they are not good, or because they are Black and what he does, what Malcolm does, is entirely independent of his identity as a Black man? Is he suggesting that he has no identity as a Black artist? And if he's not suggesting that, is Levinson, the unimaginably-privileged white son of Hollywood royalty (Oscar-winning Barry is his dad)? Why is either Levinson or Malcolm complaining about this straw lady also talking about how Malcolm's film addresses trauma, recovery, and violence towards women? Is this not the one area in which she should be "allowed" to opine?