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Review: Delivery mars strong storyline in ‘Canal Street’

By Elise Glenn | Staff Reporter
On January 28, 2019

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The new release “Canal Street” is a faith-based adaptation from Rhyan LaMarr. This film focuses on an African-American teenager, Kohli Styles (Bryshere Y. Gray), who moves to Chicago to live with his attorney father (Mykelti Williamson).

Styles is then wrongfully accused of murdering his white classmate in front of the victim’s home. Styles’ father fights in court for his son’s vindication. Against all odds, they embrace their trust in each other and find faith in God.

In recent months, movies such as “The Hate U Give” and “Widows” have dealt with black men having to deal with prejudice and systemic injustice.

In the film, Styles and his father move to the suburbs. On Styles’ first day, he gets into it with the most popular jock on campus, Brian (Kevin Quinn). They participate in a one-on-one basketball challenge, which ends with an altercation between the two. They eventually squashed the beef.

Zoey Swanson (Juani Feliz) hosts a party at her house the night of the murder. Kohli and Brian were both seen attending the party. An intoxicated Brian gets into an argument with his girlfriend. Kohli and his friends decide to drive Brian home considering he was too drunk to do it himself.

The scene fast-forwards and Brian is shown lying dead on the street and there is no murder weapon or evidence.

Kohli is first on the scene until Brian’s father comes outside after hearing the gunshots. Kohli is then framed for the killing.

In prison, Kohli’s bunkmate happens to be a man of God who helps Kohli with building his faith. “Canal Street” shows a few possible suspects throughout the film. The building blocks are there, but the movie spends a crazy amount of time showing repetitive footage from real-life radio personalities weighing in on the controversy.

A.J Canton (Mekhi Phifer) acts as the prosecutor and mayoral candidate who was criticized by the local black community for trying to prosecute a young black male for murder when there was no evidence linking him to the murder.

Styles’ father calls him up to testify toward the end of the movie. He simply asked, “Are you a God-fearing man?” Kohli replied yes, and his father went on to say, “Then you will be vindicated.”

The film ends showing that it was Brian’s girlfriend who killed him after she told him that she was pregnant, and he told her he wasn’t ready for a child. “Canal Street” has an engaging storyline, but the delivery could have been a bit sharper.

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