Thursday, January 21, 2016

Naz & Maalik (2015)

NAZ & MAALIK is heart felt examination of what it is to young gay closeted and Muslim in America. The film follows the story of two closeted gay teens in Brooklyn who end up colliding with the FBI when their "suspicious" behavior is noticed, putting their secretive romance in danger.

This is a very good small scale film that over comes a few bumps thanks to two central characters that you really care about. Kerwin Johnson Jr and Curtiss Cook Jr sell  their characters perfectly making you care about them the instant they appear on screen.

The film's story, based on the experiences of a room mate of the director, has a realness to it that has been missing from many recent inde films. So many directors try to spruce everything up with contrived twists but director Jay Dockendorf  simply lets the story unfold without really amping things up. More importantly he has dropped his characters into the real locations in a round the neighborhood where the film takes place. It's a detail that may not be caught by anyone not from New York, but for me it was something that made it more real and allowed me to forgive the occasional weak supporting performance.

To be honest the press material I got on the film talked about the deeper implications of the film with talk about what it means to be Muslim in our cities, but for me that wasn't important. For me what mattered was the fact that this is a good little film about real characters going through life. The social relevance placed on the film by the PR material is nice but it adds nothing to the quiet power into the well told  tale of two young men, any young men, simply trying to find their place in the world.

NAZ AND MAALIK will open in NYC at Cinema Village on Friday, January 22, and will also be available January 26th, 2016 on DVD via Wolfe Video and many major retailers, and also on VOD via and additional digital platforms.
Definitely worth your time.

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