Your weekly streaming pick has arrived courtesy of Amazon Prime. In this case, it isn’t just thanks to Amazon Prime but also thanks to Donald Glover (Childish Gambino). Less than a week ago Glover debuted the movie at Coachella. It was a free screening after his live musical performance. Immediately after that he put it up on Amazon Prime to get people watching it.
The movie takes place on Guava Island. A brief animated history of the island kicks off the movie. The island is paradise, on the surface. The inhabitants are stuck working all the time. Everything comes down to a large central business, ruining the beauty of their home. The core story follows Deni (Glover) on his mission. Deni’s mission is to have a big party so the inhabitants can finally get a day off and enjoy life a little bit.
Red Cargo (Nonso Anozie) hears about the festival. He knows the morale raising event will hurt productivity. He strong arms Deni into agreeing to cancel the event, but Deni never plans on keeping that promise.
Guava Island is a movie loaded with style. It’s beautifully shot and directed. Dark tones interrupt the beauty in a jarring, but perfect, way. One scene in particular drives home one of the movie’s central themes. A co-worker of Deni’s says he’s going to move to America and get rich. Deni said America is an idea. Nowhere where the only way to get rich is by making other people richer is all that great.
Guava Island is currently streaming on Amazon Prime
This message ties into the powerful song “This Is America.” If you haven’t heard the song, look it up. Better yet, watch the video on YouTube. It’s overpowering.
This is America isn’t the only song featured in the movie. Summertime Magic, Time, Saturday, and Feels Like Summer are all performed by Glover. Glover’s music career is probably still best known as a rapper but he shows a lot of range and a lot of talent. The movie bumps along with a light tone, the songs peppered throughout.
The style and direction of Guava Island screams of Glover’s dedication to all his projects. The short movie was the feature directorial debut of Hiro Murai. Murai has worked with Glover on some of his incredible music videos. He’s also a producer/director on Gambino’s critically acclaimed show, Atlanta.
At a modest run time of only 55 minutes Guava Island tells a full story. It builds a nice legend, tells the story, and sticks the landing wonderfully. Punctuated by Gambino’s music and carried through the acting charm of Glover this is well worth checking out.