The comedy “The Outside Story” takes a listless look at the life of Charles (Brian Tyree Henry), who pokes fun at his breakup with his cheating girlfriend, Isha (Sonequa Martin-Green). When Charles goes after a delivery guy for a late tip, he’s kicked out of his Brooklyn apartment for a day and has to put his self-pity aside.
This difficult situation forces him to come into contact with neighbors he has never bothered to know. Unable to return to his comfort zone, he asks to use the bathroom of the polyamorous partners upstairs. He charges his phone with the help of the teenage piano prodigy who lives in his apartment building. Charles is depressed, but affable. He’s kind to everyone he meets, even the over-performing police officer (Sunita Mani), who finds a new reason to question Charles every time she walks around the block. With the help of his new friends, Charles reflects on his romantic relationship and contemplates reconciliation.
The film, which was written and directed by Casimir Nozkowski, sets Charles’ sweetness in boredom easy. The only problem is that the film doesn’t complement its lack of stakes with style or substance. The cinematography is flat and lifeless, and Charles and his neighbors portray Brooklyn street style with oversized cardigans and crumpled buttons. It’s a toothless version of the city, where disputes between neighbors are resolved without a single curse, where clashes with the police are resolved over a sandwich. Even the streets seem cleaned of grime, sand, color and texture. It’s a film with images as crisp as its flawless characters, a cinematic view that feels better suited to a sitcom suburb.
Unclassified. Duration: 1 hour 25 minutes. Rent or buy from Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.