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Watch Malcolm X Debate Sam Cooke in ‘One Night in Miami’

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In a heated on-screen conversation, how actors approach silent moments is just as important as their dialogue. That’s what Regina King believes, and in her directorial debut, One Night in Miami (streaming on Amazon), she extracts meaning from both the use of words and the absence of words.

The film is set in 1964 on the night Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) becomes world heavyweight champion. He then gathers in a hotel with Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). The evening gala sparked a passionate debate, including how famous blacks should contribute to the civil rights movement.

In this sequence, Malcolm criticizes Sam for not creating the kind of music that would support the cause more, and there is sparring between them. In her narration, King discusses how she set up the scene to steer the audience from one perspective to another.

Read the One Night in Miami review.

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