Talented character actor Brian Tyree Henry takes a break from supporting roles to headline The Outside Story, from Samuel Goldwyn Films. Written and directed by Casimir Nozkowski the film follows Charles Young, a broken-hearted video editor. Perceiving a betrayal of trust as a sign his girlfriend Isha (Sonequa Martin-Green) is leaving him, Charles preemptively blows up his relationship and sequesters himself at home. The fates do not comply and
Charles finds himself locked out of his apartment. Stumbling into a transformational, timely odyssey, exploring his community, Charles meets a dynamic ensemble of previously avoided neighbors. The folks in the living vicinity of Charles include pre-teen and piano prodigy Elena (Olivia Edward), swinger Andre (Michael Cyril Creighton) and elder Lynda Gravatt. There’s also a beat cop Slater (Sunita Mani) and Asia who shows him everyone’s got issues and it never helps to keep them all locked up.
My introduction to Brian Tyree Henry was his role of Paperboi on the acclaimed FX series Atlanta. Sans his most recent appearance in Godzilla Vs. King which came across as a paycheck movie, Henry is always on the money with his acting. As a fan of his work, I was elated to learn that he was the lead in The Outside Story. The script for The Outside Story paints Charles as a loner, which Brian Tyree Henry taps into with a natural flair.
There’s a scene early in the film where Charles orders food and doesn’t have enough money to tip the delivery guy. Of course, the delivery guy complains that Charles’ former girlfriend always leaves a tip, forcing Charles to reveal the demise of his relationship to a stranger. Over the course of an eighty-minute running, we follow Charles on his arc to becoming a better man.
I commend director Casimir Nozkowski for avoiding easy jokes or comedic tropes that a film like this could fall into. Granted, there are some funny moments involving swinger Andre, but the comedy comes off as organic and never forced. I also enjoyed Charles’s scene with policewoman, Officer Slater, as there is a great build up to their foodie moment.
Kudos to the script as well for treating us to the talents of Sonequa Martin-Green in small doses before setting up a resolution with Charles during the film’s climax. Dialogue driven and rather realistic, The Outside Story is a charming little film that I recommend for fans of indies.
Final Grade: B+
The Outside Story is AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL AND ON DEMAND TODAY APRIL 30th