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“The Day Shall Come” Is A Take No Prisoners Satire

Filmmaker Chris Morris has kept audiences waiting for quite some time since his ambitious movie Four Lions hit theaters. That was almost a decade ago, with only four episodes of Veep under his belt since then, and nothing in the past five years or so. All this is to say that Morris’ satirical voice has been missing from cinemas. That changes this week when his sophomore flick The Day Shall Come opens. Having debuted earlier this year the South by Southwest Film Festival, it now ventures out, hoping to catch on. While some will no doubt be put off by some of the content, Morris is telling a deeply American story that’s as enraging as it is humorous.

The movie is a comedy about the tragic way things work in America. Based on hundreds of true stories (as the film states), The Day Shall Come introduces us to a very small and radical church in Miami. Moses (Marchánt Davis) is the preacher who runs things, though really his parishioners are just his family, along with a few dim witted followers. Mentally unstable, he believes change is coming to the world, but despite the psychological issues that believe a horse spoke to him as the voice of god, he’s got a good heart. However, in their quest to get a high profile terrorism collar, Moses finds his church, as well as himself, on the radar of the FBI. As the feds attempt to pin something on him, Agent Kendra Glack (Anna Kendrick) begins to think this is not going to end well for anyone. To say more would spoil some of the funny/sad/tragic things to come, but it’s a brutally honest depiction of what goes on in the United States. Morris directs, co-writes with the trio of Jesse Armstrong, Sean Gray, and Tony Roche, and composes the score, alongside Sebastian Rochford and
Jonathan Whitehead. Marcel Zyskind handles the cinematography. Supporting players include Danielle Brooks, Jim Gaffigan, Dennis O’Hare, Kayvan Novak, and more.

This is an absolutely savage satire. Not every arrow in Morris’ quiver hits its intended target, but when they do, it’s as darkly comic as any recent release. Morris makes films that are designed to be incendiary in how accurate their satirical voice is, so it comes as no surprise that his views on the government (in particular federal law enforcement), race relations, and America’s relationship between the two are skewered with pinpoint accuracy. Pitch black in tone, he’s letting his righteous anger shine through, though never without a healthy does of comedy as well. This isn’t a movie one would call hilarious, but the comedic elements are clearly in evidence.

The Day Shall Come has some nice performances within, though the film is mostly a writing showcase for Morris. However, Marchánt Davis and Anna Kendrick bring vivid life to their roles, while Danielle Brooks is very solid in a supporting role. That trio lead the way, though Dennis O’Hare is notable as well. Mostly, they’re executing the script, which is top notch. Honestly, if there’s a shortcoming, it’s that Morris’ direction isn’t as lively as the material. A more stylish eye might have given this some extra oomph. It’s a small complaint, but a visual component to match the dialogue would have been greatly appreciated.

This weekend, anyone who loved Four Lions should make it their business to seek out The Day Shall Come. Morris and company take no prisoners in their political satire, and that’s sure to ruffle some feathers. As long as you’re not easily offended, there’s a lot here to find compelling. It may not be the masterpiece some were hoping for, but it’s more evidence that Morris is an essential voice in the industry…

Be sure to check out The Day Shall Come, in theaters this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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