In the wake of his big brother’s violent death, 13-year-old Dayveon (Devin Blackmon) struggles to find his way in an economically depressed Arkansas town. With no parents and few role models around, Dayveon is soon torn between the lure of a local gang and the friendship of his sister’s boyfriend, who reluctantly acts as a father figure.
Amman Abbasi’s remarkable debut feature is a lyrical slice of Southern life, with an uncanny feeling for the rhythms of rural existence. Abbasi, the son of Pakistani immigrants who settled in Arkansas, developed the script (co-written by Steven Reneau) with input from local gang members. First-time actor Blackmon anchors the film with a poignant performance, complementing Abbasi’s introspective approach. In its unusually sensitive focus on small-town African American youth, Dayveon contains echoes of George Washington (2000), the debut film by fellow Arkansan David Gordon Green, who is one of the film’s many executive producers.
RUN TIME 75 min