Filled with authenticity, Chapter & Verse profoundly depicts the predicament of a recently released ex-con (Daniel Beaty) striving to create a new life for himself on the mean, unforgiving streets of Harlem.
Beaty plays the leading role of Lance, freshly released from prison after serving eight years. While incarcerated, Lance developed a useful skill in repairing computers, yet he quickly discovers that the task of finding a job utilizing his abilities is seemingly impossible. Residing in a halfway house, he takes a job at a food pantry delivering meals.
While delivering meals, he becomes acquainted with “Ms. Maddy” (Loretta Devine). The two soon develop a close friendship, one that comes to involve her 15-year-old grandson Ty (Khadim Diop), who seems determined to follow in Lance’s footsteps toward a life of crime.
The film accurately explores the contradictions of modern-day Harlem, as Lance encounters young professionals buying million-dollar apartments, all while gunshots continue to haunt the streets.
Though the plot may seem quite common without further inspection, Chapter & Verse director and co-writer Jamal Joseph brings us a rare sense of honesty and sincerity given his own personal experience of being incarcerated for a decade. Furthermore, Joseph avoids glamorizing urban life, a frequent pitfall for many Hollywood depictions, and instead gives spectators a raw, straightforward look into the streets of Harlem.
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