Genre: Thriller, Drama
Director: Abi Damaris Corbin
Cast: John Boyega, Michael K. Williams, Nicole Beharie, Connie Britton, Selenis Levya, Robb Derringer
Runtime: 103 minutes
Distributor: Bleecker Street
Release date: TBA
Thrilling, absorbing, and impactful, 892 offers up superb performances from John Boyega, Nicole Beharie, Michael K. Williams (in his final role), Selenis Levya, and Connie Britton while drawing attention to some tragic systemic issues.
This film is an experience. It reminded me a lot of when I saw Mass at Sundance last year. Similar to that screening, I felt unable to breathe and unable to move during the whole film. Packed with powerful performances and injected with intensity, I think it will be challenging to find anyone who disagrees with the shock factor going on here.
I really recommend everybody goes into this with as limited of a perspective as possible, so I’m going to try and help my readers follow that limited viewpoint through this review.
John Boyega delivers a really memorable performance, and he manages to stand out among such stiff competition from the rest of this supporting cast.
Being from Georgia myself, I found it really interesting how this story really leaned into that setting. Tying in Marietta city police, Cobb County sheriffs, and the WSBTV news network, this film name-drops quite a few local Atlanta things that out-of-towners may not notice.
I really like how Boyega’s character’s actions force the audience to reckon with whether or not they truly agree with what he is doing. It makes the viewer teeter-totter back and forth between how you feel about his behavior. “Would I do the same thing?” “Of course I wouldn’t.” “Or maybe I would in his situation?” And it’s those thoughts that ignite a conversation.
Nicole Beharie is starring in two titles at Sundance this year — 892 as well as Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul (review of that one coming soon!). Having seen 892 first, though, I think she crushed this role. She rides the fine line between delivering a bone-chilling but also hardcore acting performance that I think only she could pull off successfully.
This is being billed as Michael K. Williams’ final role, and that is extremely bittersweet because he does such an amazing job that I didn’t want it to end because his acting career would essentially end with it.
Forgoing any sort of character development, we aren’t really able to form a relationship or gain much background knowledge on these individuals. However, given the situation, that loses its importance, and we start to pick up on things as the movie progresses rather than having to be told through exposition.
Simultaneously getting into the way that the media handles dramatic events, how systematic issues mishandle those that need help the most, and blurring the lines between fact and fiction, I found the script extremely powerful. It makes it all the more hard-hitting when you think about that “based on a true story” card that flashed up onscreen at the beginning.
On paper, this can read very formulaic. It’s a single-setting drama. I get it. That can be a hard sell. People might fear that it would feel like a play, or worse, exude that “filmed during COVID” feeling we all know by now. 892 does neither of those things, though, and that’s why it works.
892 screened during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. It will be distributed by Bleecker Street with a release date TBA.