Luv has the distinction of being distributed by Indomina Media, which is a plus considering they also distributed the mind blowing Holy Motors. Luv unfolds as an urban journey as seen through the eyes of young Woody (Michael Rainey, Jr.) as he hangs out with his ex-con uncle Vincent (Common) for one unforgettable day. Only this isn’t a trip to get ice cream and go to the park.
Rather than drop Woody off at school, Vincent decides to introduce his neophyte nephew to street life and it’s a glance that introduces the youth (and us) to a gallery of thugs, drug dealers and eventually ends in a triple homicide that changes the boy into a man. Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton and Dennis Haysbert play some of the wily supporting characters. In a genre sense the story can be linked to a film like Beasts of the Southern Wild (which also returns today) since we see adults without any preconception of their vices through the eyes of a child.
There are times when Luv seems like it could be just another normal crime movie. Early on we see Vincent discover a gun in his uncle’s drawer and we know what that portends. Or how Vincent wants to go straight and open a crab shack on the Baltimore waterfront only he needs just one big score to finance his dream. Yet each turn has an originality that’s amplified by convincing situations and realistic acting. Luv is a winner that knows just when to double down its odds.
- Michael Bergeron