A Diary for Jordan (2021)

A newspaper for Jordan, 2021.

Directed by Denzel Washington.
Starring Michael B. Jordan, Chanté Adams, Jalon Christian, Gregory Sanon, Cleveland Berto, Johnny M. Wu, Nicholas G. Sims, Vanessa Aspillaga, Joseph Brooks, Spencer Squire, Samuel Caleb Walker, Susan Pourfar, Tamara Tunie and Robert Wisdom.

SYNOPSIS:

1st sergeant. Charles Monroe King, before being killed in action in Baghdad, writes a diary for his son intended to explain to him how to lead a decent life despite his childhood without a father.

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A newspaper for Jordan opens with one of those montages flashing with images of critical moments that will unfold in the narrative’s two timelines (the late 90s to early 2000s and the back half of the last decade). In this case, everything shown looks like a fatality based on the premise of the story and actual events (director Denzel Washington uses a script by Virgil Williams based on an article by the same Dana Canedy titled From father to son, the last words to live), which takes even more away from any potential suspense or urgency to be found here, especially as the shoot is more preoccupied with a light and tender account of the relationship between Sergeant Charles Monroe King (Michael B. Jordan, still shredded but now in uniform) and New York Times reporter Dana Canedy (Chanté Adams). It doesn’t take long before boredom sets in with the lack of conflict, hoping something exciting happens even if it means endangering Charles in the line of duty just so that the story can actually go somewhere.

That’s not to say Denzel Washington isn’t trying to create some grounded drama, especially since every time he does it rings hollow with a crippling disinterest in Charles and Dana’s exploration of the beyond. of the most basic aspects of dating and sexual attraction. At one point, Charles is deployed and prepares to visit Dana while she works in Akron, where plans, sadly, fail. One of the soldiers he prides himself on caring for has a potentially fatal woman in labor, so he stays to be there for them. Meanwhile, and understandably upset, Dana jumps to the conclusions of cheating over the phone, which registers poorly considering the family issues the film tries to tie into that fear of adultery are also granted no insight or depth.

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Most of the time, A newspaper for Jordan looks like a Hallmark romance with a few chuckles here and there about the chemistry between Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams the opposing personalities of their characters (another element that doesn’t even scratch the surface, which is embarrassing given the nature inherently political of a romantic relationship between an army sergeant and a journalist). If anything, it’s over 2 hours of Michael B. Jordan described as the most respectful, gentlemanly, polite and perfect boyfriend there is (which I’m sure might entertain some people who don’t. not necessarily looking for something difficult here), which seems overkill. Yes, a little loophole is created from his compulsion to treat his military family with the same values ​​and care he does towards Dana, but Charles’ personality is more wish-fulfillment than wish-fulfillment. authentic.

Charles is also a unique sergeant in that he also has a passion for drawing and famous art but never really experienced metropolitan life or most of the pleasures of the world due to his service in the military. , something fascinating that the script recognizes as quickly as it drops. . A few attempts at humor are made from this cultural inexperience, but it turns out to be as insignificant as the brief segment featuring Dana’s complicated military veteran father who sets the two up in the first place. No matter how heavy or intriguing the material is, the storyline and direction can’t help but approach the story and characters in the most cheesy way.

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There’s also the lost titular son Jordan (played by newcomer Jalon Christian, who deserves more screen time because he generates more emotions in five minutes than anyone here in 125), who is correctly presented slightly to halfway through the film, now as a teenage orphan struggling with bullying at the expense of his fair-skinned blackness. The fallout from the altercation (which leaves Jordan a little flustered with an offscreen physical confrontation) involves Dana handing Jordan a diary Charles wrote for the boy while he was serving in Iraq as an unsuspecting realist. ‘he would go home once and for all. The diary itself appears to be filled with commendable advice (it is no weakness for a man to cry, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, assertiveness of identity, and advice for dealing with women with respect), but within five minutes the narrative returns to the angle of stiff romance.

There’s not even point in responding to anyone’s thoughts on post 9/11 America or the war, seemingly afraid to even engage in a conversation on the subject. A newspaper for Jordan is as sanitized and holy a true story as they come. He shoots around every corner, has shockingly little interest in the titular newspaper itself and the eponymous Jordan, and sleepwalks through a lifeless love affair. Here’s something to note in the diary: This is Denzel Washington’s worst directorial effort yet.

Evaluating the Flickering Myth – Movie: ★ / Movie: ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the editor of Flickering Myth Reviews. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]

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