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Your Honor (2020)

Is anyone surprised that Bryan Cranston has done it again? If you are among those few, that means you have never witnessed his formidable, chameleon-like turns in everything from family sit-coms like Malcolm in the Middle (2000-2006), to hard-hitting, edge-of-your-seat dramas like Breaking Bad (2008-2013).

Well, he’s done it again with Your Honor in which Cranston returns as the grieving New Orleans Judge Michael Desiato. To understand the complexity of this character you should know that Michael’s world seems to be filled with equitable, intimate relationships with black people including his best friend Charlie (played by Isiah Whitlock Jr.), the lawyer and his love interest Lee (played by Carmen Ejogo), and his friend and colleague Judge Sarah LeBlanc (played by Lorraine Toussaint).

We also see Michael on a jog in a black impoverished neighbourhood where he stands at the front door of the “shot-gun-house” to assess (in person and anonymously) a supposed crime scene and debunk (later in his courtroom), the testimony of a dirty white cop who has made false allegations implicating a black mother on drug possession charges.

Having recently lost his wife, Michael is quickly embroiled in an unreported hit-and-run accident and embarks upon a series of underhanded and illegal maneuvers to save his teenage son, Adam, who has accidentally hit and killed the son of a mafia king-pin, Jimmy Baxter, played to fiendish perfection by Michael Stuhlbarg. By the way, his wife, Gina (played by Hope Davis) is equally terrifying as a grieving and vengeful mother. But if the white upper-class Adam, who is supposed to be on his way to university in the fall, does not take responsibility for the fatal crash, who will?

The excruciating moral dilemmas arise as we see a desperate Michael turning away from his supposedly unshakable moral core to save his precious white son from the hideous white mobster. So, who gets sacrificed instead? How about the young black man from the depressed and derelict neighbourhood on the “wrong side” of town, Kofi Jones, played with understated brilliance by Lamar Johnson.

Will the supposedly honourable Judge Desiato stand by as a grief stricken and maniacal Jimmy Baxter seeks to kill the wrong young man for the death of his beloved son? Tune in and find out!