The size of your dreams can often depend on where you grow up. Since 14-year old Mouse (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) lives in the tough streets of Baltimore in the Sundance selected drama Charm City Kings, his options aren’t exactly plentiful. That’s why right now he only has his sights set on joining the Midnight Clique of dirt-bike riders. But first, he needs his own bike. The only problem is the opportunities to get enough cash together for a bike are few and far between, and as the Charm City Kings trailer reveals, it usually includes taking a path that turns teen dreams into nightmares.
Charm City Kings Trailer
Charm City Kings is an adaptation of the documentary 12 O’Clock Boys, which told the same story at the center of this movie. This time it’s dramatized, which might make it feel a little more formulaic. But the coming-of-age dramatization might make it a little more appealing to those who have trouble getting immersed in documentary filmmaking, even if it only echoes what was already done so well in the documentary.
Eric Kohn at IndieWire wrote in his review from Sundance:
“Charm City Kings” resonates in much the same way that “12 O’Clock Boys” did, by burrowing inside a community defined by contradictory impulses. At first blush, it seems a no-brainer that Mouse should give up his fixation on the biker life to pursue the greater potential at his disposal. But “Charm City Kings” presents the excitement of the road so well that its allure isn’t easy to dismiss.
While this does seem to have the familiar coming-of-age struggles that Sundance has seen many times over, as the trailer indicates, it’s the setting and prominence of “unabashedly Black” characters and drama that makes it standout from the crowd. That’s probably why the movie won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Acting at Sundance this year. Plus, this movie just might turn on some people to watching the documentary that inspired it, providing some real life insight into a world that they don’t normally see.
Charm City Kings is directed by Angel Manuel Soto and written by Sherman Payne. It also stars rapper Meek Mill in a breakthrough performance along with Will Catlett, Donielle Hansley, Kezii Curtis, Chino, Lakeyria “Wheelie Queen” Doughty and Teyonah Parris.
In this gritty coming-of-age drama, fourteen-year-old Mouse (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) desperately wants to join the Midnight Clique, an infamous group of Baltimore dirt-bike riders who rule the summertime streets. His older brother, Stro, was their top rider before his tragic death—a loss that consumes Mouse as much as his passion for bikes. Mouse’s mom (Teyonah Parris) and his police mentor, Detective Rivers (William Catlett), work overtime to help the charismatic teen reach his full potential, but when the Midnight Clique’s leader, Blax (Meek Mill), takes the boy under his wing, the lure of revving his own dirt bike skids Mouse toward a road way past the straight and narrow.
Charm City Kings arrives on HBO Max on October 8, 2020.
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