“Stupid rocks, stupid concrete, stupid people.”
Jaded, isolated and unforgiving, Dayveon depicts a contemporary portrayal of poverty’s impact on young society. Zoning in on the life of mislead cynic and 13-year-old destitute Dayveon (portrayed by Devin Blackmon), we see a troubled young boy grasp for whatever morsel of attention low-socio economic society can spare him after the death of his brother. Attracting the likes of gang related crime as a result of his belligerence and desire to fit in, Dayveon symbolises how a lack of education, understanding and opportunity can lead to a crime surplus. With Dayveon sinking lower and lower into despair, we are left wondering if he will rise into the unlikely dawn of a new and prosperous tomorrow or whether his roots of misfortune will forever grow deeper into his already knave riddled fate.
Dayveon is an unsparing anecdote of social status, reputation and family that cuts deep with truth and familiarity and the stark theme explored in the film is further supported by a largely non-professional cast that often created moments so true to life that it often crossed the line from feature film into documentary.
The film also boasts a unique aesthetic composed of minimalist cinematography, raw colour-grading and vehement editing, marking it with a refreshingly unembellished aesthetic to mirror the organic small rural Arkansas town that our story resides in. However, it is unfortunately overshadowed by a repetitive storyline that sadly does not progress into the desired climax of audience anticipation. Overall the film is remedied by its pure realism which singes your conscience with its honest portrayal, making it well worth your while.
Dayveon proves to be a film worth watching and a vital political king that addresses important topics of youth, status and relationships found in modern society, marking Amman Abbasi not only as a Berlin Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival entrant but also as an important political director and filmmaker with something relevant to say in today’s perplexing world.
American Essentials Film Festival
screening from 9 May nationally