Heading into the first weekend of Sundance one of the clear powerhouse films has been Abi Damaris Corbin’s gripping thriller “892”. John Boyega is at his best as Brian, a veteran dealing with the mental and emotional stress of a broken system when his disability check gets tied up in bureaucracy. Living in a cheap hotel and separated from his daughter Brian takes matters into his own hands and storms a bank taking hostages until his small demands are met.
This one plays out in real-time and it’s a film that can easily have you swept up in the constant tension of this plotline. After a quick introduction to the hopeless day-to-day life of Brian the story enters this bank and from there it remains, exploring the mental stress of veterans, government systems with lack of funding, the overall lack of human empathy, and the collateral damage that can come from all of these elements when they collide with raw human emotion. Which translates into a progression that can have you on the edge of your seat purely invested in the dramatic intensity.
Brian is the center of this film, but he plays more like an example. Brian could be anyone and while you may not be able to feel sympathy for a man holding innocent people inside a bank. You will be able to connect with the ramifications of a society that deems value to human life. Learning why this movie is called “892” will break your heart, it will anger you, and that is the message in this movie. Brian is simply one of many people who capture the consequences that come from the threat of homelessness and feeling ignored by a society he went to war to protect and from start-to-finish it’s riveting.
Surrounding Boyega is a small but effective supporting cast. In his final film role prior to his tragic death Michael Kenneth Williams turns in a subtle but commanding performance. With both Nicole Beharie and Selenis Leyva bringing an array of emotional intensity and layering to characters that are often simple pawns in these types of movies. Beharie and Leyva along with Boyega capture an authentic chemistry and it works perfect for the needs of the plot.
In the end, “892” is an emotionally immersive journey of a desperate man that didn’t want what wasn’t his. He simply wanted what was promised to him and this film can easily command your attention. Without a whisper of melodrama this story is able to connect to the heartstrings. It does have some pacing issues. Some added layering could have built more backdrop to Brian. Yet it doesn’t really get in the way of the emotional ride it will take you on. It’s tragically riveting. It will make you angry, and it will without question stick with you long after watching.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.