Review | 892: John Boyega shines in thriller based on true events

Film watched during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

892 is the story of an America gone wrong. From an honest man, who, by serving his government as a military man, carried the horrors and marks of a war to which the United States was never called. And the film directed by Abi Damaris Corbin and starring John Boyega and Michael K. Williams, is much more than the farewell of the latter – who passed away in 2021, after an overdose. War veteran Brian Easley’s heartwarming and heartbreaking biopic is an account of social injustice that exposes the cracks in a system that often doesn’t work for his own.

In the plot, co-written by Corbin and Kwame Kwei-ArmahAfter his disability benefit is withheld by a government agency, war veteran and US Navy member Brian Brown-Easley finds himself on the brink of homelessness. With no other options, he walks into a Wells Fargo bank and claims to have a bomb, demanding that his money be returned to him. Cornered and without a formulated plan, the 33-year-old tries to solve a terrible personal injustice in the worst way possible. The case drew attention as it followed the story of a man reported as being kind, polite and well-spoken who – while making frightening promises – was in fact completely frightened to learn that yet another part of himself was about to be taken away by the state.

And the dread of an uncertain future and the insecurity of a life filled with painful memories are revisited here by the brilliant performance of Boyega, which accurately prints all the anguish of Easley, a man bruised by time and neglect, who only wanted to be seen by his rulers. And under a growing tension that bathes his face with sweat, the star of Star Wars shows once again his exceptional talent for drama, bringing to mind a sad story that must never be forgotten.

And always probing the surroundings behind a pair of prescription glasses, Boyega appears in the dramatic thriller as the shadow of what was once a man. With his head down, his speech anguished and paused, he shows his character’s life story, as he Corbin and Kwei-Armah bring to the center of the table an important debate about the inefficiency of the public system and the spiral of consequences that arise from it.

With a simple direction but a sharp script that is surgical in reporting the facts, the thriller is a painful experience for the audience, who have no choice but to witness the horror before their eyes. Striking us in the core of the soul, such is the indignation it provokes, 892 tells an epic of avoidable mistakes, taking us to the limit – together with the protagonist. Leaving us adrift with your ending, Abi Damaris Corbin and Kwame Kwei-Armah still confront the audience by leaving them with a bittersweet taste on their lips. In the face of a very well-executed film, there is also the fear that stories like this will be repeated again.

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