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A Lot of Nothing

By Bradley Gibson | March 20, 2022

The twists and turns of A Lot of Nothing are just beginning when the policeman is duct-taped to a lawn chair in their garage while the couple tries to decide their next move. The first complication arrives in the form of James’ brother Jamal (Shamier Anderson) and his pregnant wife, Olivia(Sheila Carrasco). The vigilante couple forgot they’d invited them over for dinner.

The suspense is non-stop, and the story is wildly unpredictable. None of the characters are exactly what they appear to be, and there are no heroes or villains. However, the beautiful cinematography by John Rosario is noteworthy. Not only are the main characters unearthly attractive, but also their home and neighborhood are shown with a clean and suburban beauty that is uncomfortably sterile. They are all lit and shot like works of art.

“…wildly unpredictable.”

While McRae is best known for his acting, most notably, a recurring role in Sons of Anarchy, he has a growing body of work as producer and director. With A Lot of Nothing, McRae has boldly announced himself as the vanguard of the next wave. He’s infused style from the works of Spike Lee and Jordan Peele, with a little Quentin Tarantino thrown into the mix. Being conversant with those familiar elements has given him an extraordinary comfort level, both employing and subverting tropes we’ve seen in those films. McRae focuses on the different portrayals of the characters along both racial and socio-economic class lines, often with those forces at odds in unexpected combinations.

The filmmaker plays with our assumptions around justice and race. While A Lot of Nothing uses elements ripped from the headlines, in this context, what you expect to come from it will say more about you than it does the script. The revelation of the final act changes everything that has gone before. Hang onto the edge of your seat for a wickedly entertaining ride.

A Lot of Nothing screened at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.

A Lot of Nothing (2022)

Directed: Mo McRae

Written: Sarah Kelly Kaplan, Mo McRae

Starring: Cleopatra Coleman, Y'lan Noel, Justin Hartley, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

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"…plays with our assumptions around justice and race."

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