*Hollywood tackled racial tension last year with the 1960s-set drama “Detroit” as riots erupted in the Michigan city. Now, a new drama takes us to the Los Angeles riots in 1992.
“Kings” stars Oscar winner Halle Berry and Daniel Craig as citizens of the same South Central Los Angeles neighborhood set against a backdrop of rising racial tensions during the verdict of the Rodney King trial in 1992.
In her first English-language film following the critically acclaimed Mustang, writer-director Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s “Kings” tells a dramatic story of family bonds and the lengths one mother will go to bring her children home. Halle Berry stars as Mille, a tough and protective single foster mother of eight who must ally herself with Obie (Daniel Craig), her neighbor and a local loose cannon, when racial tensions start to run dangerously high.
As the civil unrest in Los Angeles grows following the acquittal of four of the officers accused of beating Rodney King, Millie and Obie must navigate the chaos that surrounds them in order to ensure her children’s safety. KINGS focuses on the fragility of family relationships and touches on turmoil and tensions of the past, which sadly prove to be more relevant than ever in today’s social and political climate.
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Marshall Shaffer of slashfilm.com caught the film last fall and wrote, “Kings never really engages with the L.A. Riots beyond showing some archival footage of the Rodney King trial on the television.” The review also notes that director Deniz Gamze Ergüven “never takes the next step to probe the impunity of police or examine structural racism as Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal did in Detroit.”
Here’s the official synopsis of “Kings” from when it premiered at TIFF:
Millie (Berry) is a hardworking single mom with a soft spot for strays. When Kings begins, she already has eight children living in her house and will soon bring home another. Her neighbor Obie (Craig) is the local loose cannon, and the only white man in an area largely inhabited by African Americans, Latinos, and Koreans. With racial tensions running dangerously high, Millie and Obie would appear to be unlikely allies. Yet following the acquittal of four of the officers accused of beating Rodney King, these two must navigate the gathering chaos in the city to bring Millie’s kids home safely.
“Kings” hits theaters this spring on April 27, 2018.