Sometimes, the best conversations you ever have with yourself. But trust me, I’m not crazy.
After his mother mysteriously leaves him all alone in his childhood home, Peter Snowden (David Oyelowo) finally gets all sorts of freedom to do whatever it is that he wants. That means he gets to sing, dance, smoke, drink, eat fish, and document it all for the rest his “followers” to see on some sort of live vid-chat. But most of all, Peter wants to reconnect with a long, lost pal of his, which he’s able to do by setting up dinner at his place for Friday. Now, Peter’s got plenty of time to make himself up all primed and ready for his friend, so that he can not only impress him, but possibly get out of his house once and for all, and be away from his overprotective mother that never let him do much of anything fun in the first place. However, people keep calling the house and asking his mom – which leads Peter to dodge this questions and, sooner than later, concerns in an odd fashion. This leaves many of them to wonder just where the hell she actually is, and better yet, just what the hell Peter has been up to for the past few days or so without her around to keep him in line.
If, for some reason or another, you don’t like David Oyelowo and would much rather not have him any movie you see, as opposed to the opposite, then Nightingale will not be the movie for you. Once again, I don’t know what the reason would be as to why you wouldn’t like David Oyelowo and his skills as an actor, but the reason you would want to steer clear of this movie, is because it’s literally David Oyelowo, all of the time, with nobody else, for literally an hour-and-a-half. If you can’t handle all of that, then don’t bother to watch – even if I don’t exactly know why’d you want to do that in the first place. Because not only is Oyelowo fantastic in every movie he shows up in, but here, he’s exceptionally so.
And he ought to be, considering that he is, like I utter again, literally the only person you see in this movie. Sure, you hear a few people on the TV and a person even comes to knock at the door to talk (who’s voice you hear, but his face is never seen), but aside from those two instances, there’s never much contact heard, or ever seen, that Peter has with the outside world. There’s a lot of talking to himself and to people on the phone, however, but with the later, we never hear the person on the other line; it’s just all Peter, all of the time.
And you know what? David Oyelowo, whether you love him or inexplicably hate him (once again, for reasons I can’t even begin to think of), makes it all work so damn well.
As Peter Snowden, Oyelowo is able to dig deep into the psyche of a man we literally know nothing about. We’re practically thrown into his life, warts and all, watching as he’s having something of a nervous breakdown, and though we don’t know why that is or where it’s going to go, it’s hard to turn away. We may not have anything to know about him early on, but it’s hard to not be enticed right away by him, his personality, and his actions, even if they seem to be all under the same category of “crazy”.
But once again, that’s the beauty of Oyelowo’s performance; though Peter is obviously a very weird and nutty dude, Oyelowo makes him seem like a normal, everyday kind of guy that has a problem or two with his anger, self-control, and talking to imaginary person(s) he may, or may not be making up in his head. Clearly Peter has something wrong with him, but what is it? Better yet, where does it all stem from? Does he have a mental illness of sorts? Or was his mother just a tad too controlling and bossy for his own good?
Whatever the answers may be, they rarely come and they didn’t need to; Oyelowo was more than enough to compensate for a grey area here and there.
With Peter Snowden, too, Oyelowo gets to show the rest of the world the range that he has within his skill-sets. Though it’s not hard to imagine Oyelowo being able to play so many other types of characters, it’s still a shock to see him turn on and off his comedic-timing, while also still making us scared out of our minds by how deeply and truly twisted he can seem to be. It’s definitely not an easy task to make this kind of character anything short of annoying (what with all of the constant talking to one’s self and thinking that one’s self is the funniest person in the room), but once again, he makes it work. Maybe David Oyelowo truly is the real deal that we, the movie world should take more notice of.
Sure, he’s been on the upswing for the past couple or so years, but after his undeserved snub for an Oscar in Selma, it becomes ever so clear now that Oyelowo deserves more recognition from the film world. Nightingale may not be a perfect movie (still think it could have delved deeper and gone the extra mile to portray more about Peter’s condition, whatever it may have been), but as a vehicle for David Oyelowo’s incredibly wide skills as an actor – somebody who can be both funny, charming, and odd, sometimes all in one scene – it’s stunning.
Which is, like I’ve said before, to say that Oyelowo himself is actually stunning and more than deserving of anymore recognition that comes his way in the upcoming years.
Consensus: Without broadening its story’s lenses, Nightingale serves as a wonderful calling card for the amazing talents of David Oyelowo; the one who makes this movie worth watching just about every second it’s on for.
8 / 10