A movie can do so much. It can make you laugh. It can make you cry. Some movies can do both. Some movies can take you to a world unimaginable. Some can make you face the harsh realities of the world today. But the greatest of movies can do all of these things and leave you with something never before experienced.

Sing Sing is one of these films

Greg Kwedar (Jockey, Transpecos) writes and directs the true story adaption of a prison reform group meant to use the art of theatre and performance to help rehabilitate a group of incarcerated men.

Has there been a film like this before? Of course, but Kwedar makes the bold, courageous, and incredible decision to cast the real-life subjects and former members of the troupe in the film.

Colman Domingo (Rustin, Euphoria) is one of the few members of the film not to be playing themselves. As the credits rolled and I saw how many of the actors had the credit “Self,”  my mouth went from a smile (where it was for the entire duration of the film) to an open mouth gasp.

sing sing

The acting in the film was thoroughly phenomenal. Led by the incredible Domingo, the recent Oscar nominee is shockingly matched step for step by his co-star Clarence Maclin. Maclin plays the newest member of the theater group, and it is impossible to believe Maclin is making his acting debut in this film. The two are awe-inspiring and deliver truly Oscar-worthy performances.

The film brings to life Shawshank Redemption in its handling of the prison system. Sing Sing paints a group often written off as heroes and redeemable men who just need a platform to express themselves.

The tone and pacing of the film is crisp as the audience enjoys being locked up with these men as they put together one of the most ridiculous comedy plays you can ever imagine. The film balances humor and tragedy much like the play the group is putting on.

But it is the two leads and each of the supporting cast members who make this film soar. Each individual this film spotlights brings so much grace accompanied by such heartache. Sing Sing is beautiful and incredibly important.

Sing Sing
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Nathan is one of HeyUGuys' US correspondents and loves movies. You'll find him at Sundance Film Festival on an annual basis watching and reviewing movies before most others.
sing-sing-reviewThis film soars, and brings grace and heartache in equal measure. Sing Sing is beautiful and incredibly important.