Christopher Nolen’s film “72 Hours” tells the story of a man named Cleavon “Von” Burkett, a man with a womanizing past who, after having a heart attack, is told by God he must receive forgiveness from all the women he’s wronged or his life will end.
The movie begins on a sad note with Von, played by Timon Kyle Durrett, playing cards with his mother, played by Thea Camara. During the game his mother, who’s living in a hospice tells him she doesn’t have many days left and wants him to turn his life around and settle down. Then we see his mother alone in her room when God, played by Harry Lennix, appears to take her into the afterlife.
Her passing and Von’s anguished and somewhat angry reaction to her death is a truly touching scene, that will bring tears to your eyes and a lump in your throat. Whatever opinions you may have of Von, you can tell he loved his mother, and his pain is heartbreakingly real.
However, you also see a side of Von that is not so endearing; he is a man who took advantage of nearly every woman he came across, cheating on nearly all of them including the girlfriend who became his wife. This is why God has appeared to him personally.
Unlike many movie portrayals of God there is no booming voice from on high or some sort of special effect like a lightning bolt to demonstrate the power of the almighty God. What you have in place of all that is the gravitas of Harry Lennix, and his commanding performance is enough to make you realize you’re dealing with a powerful figure. Lennix portrays a very matter-of-fact version of the almighty, He is God, He is in charge, and you do what He says, or suffer the consequences.
However, the film isn’t only tearful moments and a no-nonsense deity. There are some hilarious moments on the film, many of them provided by Brian Hooks who plays Von’s best friend Tyrann who helps him with the quest. Hooks has some of the most laugh out loud funny scenes in the film, such as asking for Von’s Xbox if he dies, and providing commentary and impersonations of many of the women Von must reach out to.
Another noteworthy performance comes from Brely Evans as Marquita, a girl Von said he would marry and broke up with her while she was recovering from a car accident. Evans adeptly plays the role of the crazy ex-girlfriend who constantly parks in front of his house and tries to win him back by using self-help books and make shift voodoo, (which incorporates rubber duckies and an onion on a stick.)
As a matter of full disclosure I should mention that the film’s Co-Producer Crosby Tatum, who also edited the film, and performed other tasks, including special effects, is a friend of mine.
That having been said the film has a very minimalist approach to special effects and when they are used it is very subtle.
As of this writing no screening has been scheduled in the greater Boston area. However, when the movie is available on DVD I would recommend renting it because “72 Hours” is a film that is definitely worth your time.