Movie, Reviews

“Destined” It’s About Choices

Using a novel approach to his film, Oasim Basir takes Destined to another level as he lays out his story by showing the life of one man and picturing him taking two different paths. I like what he has put together here as it’s not only entertaining, but thought provoking. One of the biggest things a moviegoer can take away from a movie is a challenge, and Destined certainly lays out many of them.

Teens Calvin and Rasheed live in a dangerous and unkind neighborhood. Growing up in an urban area where drugs are rampant and money is scarce for the two boys, Cal introduces Rasheed to a cool way to get cash. In a park one morning, Rasheed notices Cal handing off a packet of drugs to an old couple. Later that afternoon, Rasheed accompanies him to rundown building where he gets accosted by an angry drug dealer. Standing up to the thug, Rasheed gets to go on a delivery with Cal to “make” some quick cash. But, instead he gets arrested by two plainclothes officers.

Sheed/Rasheed (Cory Hardrict)

At that point the film takes on two separates paths for Rasheed (Cory Hardrict), now in his 30’s, which include Calvin (Robert Christopher Riley) and even the cops that arrested him. Director and writer Qasim Basir split screens his film initially and in later segments so the audience will get the effect of the paths he takes. He also renames him as Sheed in the life he has chosen as a drug dealer and keeps the name Rasheed as an up and coming star architect in path number two. He also separates the two roles with a sepia coloration (an orange/yellow cast placed on the film so it gives a grittier look) for the gangster tale and a nice ordinary filter for the successful track.

Robert Christopher Riley as Cal/Calvin and Cory Hardrict as Rasheed.Sheed in DESTINED

Basir puts the two stars to work as they play out lives of crime or upstanding citizens. It centers on Sheed as a hardened drug dealer who turns a good measure of his money over to his mother so she can have a better life. But, with Cal now an angry soldier of Sheed, things are not going too well, even upsetting a plan out of vengeance for one of their street dealers. On the flip side, Rasheed has been noticed by Brewster Home Development for the lead on a major project development. Calvin has become a member of the Mayor’s staff and has his finger on the pulse of the growing changes in the area.

The two parallel stories showing the cinematic separation

The film goes on from their showing the differences in the choices Rasheed has made and how they affect all the characters around him including family. It would be difficult for even seasoned actors to carry on two separate roles and make the characters different, but both Cory Hardrict and Robert Christopher Riley do a bang up job. I’m impressed with their performances and even the support characters that had to change in the parallel stories.

Qasim Basir on the set of DESTINED with Cory Hardrict

Destined has been honored by the following film festivals; Urban World Festival (winner Best Narative Feature), Peachtree Village International Film Festival (winner Best Film and Best Filmmaker: Qasim Basir), BronzeLens Film Festival (winner Best Feature and Best Overall), American Black Film Festival (winner Best Actor: Cory Hardrict and Best Director: Qasim Basir) The movie was also an official selection into the Chicago International Film Festival and the Los Angeles International Film Festival.

Destined has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains violence, brutality, language and drug use. Be cautious about letting immature teens see the film. The film opened in Los Angeles on November 7th and opens today in most of the country. Please check your local listing for the nearest movie theater playing the movie.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A well-made film on a surprisingly low budget.

Additional Film Information
Cast: Cory Hardrict, Jesse Metcalfe, Hill Harper, La La Anthony, Robert Christopher Riley, Margot Bingham
Directed and written by: Qasim Basir
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
MPAA Rating: Not Rated, contains violence, language, drug use
Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.
Release Date: November 17, 2017
Distributed by: XLRATOR Media

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com