SXSW 2018 Review: PASS OVER

An image from Spike Lee's PASS OVER

It’s always exciting to see a new Spike Lee joint, but this one is unlike his others. With PASS OVER, Lee directs the filming and cinematic editing of the titular stage play by Antoinette Nwandu and performed at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre. It follows two African-American homeless men trying to find a way out of their lives. In an attempt to keep secrecy, I will only tell you that this play follows themes of racism and the human spirit through extremely powerful dialogue.

PASS OVER is a film that can not be compared to any other. Plays have endured cinematic editing before to go on the big screen. However, the movie isn’t necessarily about the play it shows, rather about society’s reaction to it, and in this way we truly get to see its immense power on display.

The movie starts with an excited audience loading a bus to see Nwandu’s play, and ends with that same audience loading the bus home, with expression as if their lives have been changed. These are perfect bookends to this film, giving a perfect representation of how audiences of the film are affected. Lee’s cinematic qualities make for something truly special, in addition to some of the best performances and most poetic dialogue I have ever seen.

This is a film that is near perfect. It is one of, if not, the most unique films we’ll get this year. This is definitely one to look out for.

Rating: 9/10

Pass Over will be released by Amazon Studios later this year.

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