David Gordon Green's breakthrough film George Washington remains his greatest work, thanks to its impeccable cinematography and authentic look at the tough lives of young black boys in the American South. That Green sits as a producer on Amman Abbasi's debut directorial feature Dayveon is no mistake — the film shares a lot with George Washington.
Displaying grainy, artful shots in the trendy 4:3 aspect ratio, Dayveon offers some truly jaw-dropping cinematography as it follows the life of its titular protagonist. Without a father, and having recently lost his older brother to a shooting, young Dayveon is trying to find his place in the world.
His life is a mix of innocence and chaos as he splits his time between youthful activities like bike-riding and videogaming with far more sinister pursuits, like helping the local Bloods pull off armed robberies.
Abbasi wrote Dayveon's script with input from local youths, and cast his film entirely with non-actors from the area. As a result, it bristles with authenticity. That said, its plot is so subtle that the film feels almost unfinished when it finally reaches its gentle conclusion.
Meditative and beautiful, Dayveon is a promising debut from Abbasi (who wrote, directed and scored the film). Here's hoping he does more with his impressive tool kit next time around.