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Film Summary

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“Cinnamon” packs multiple genres and cinematic flourishes within its 90 minutes that will leave your mouth agape, shaking your head, sometimes laughing, but never looking away. Bryian Keith Montgomery Jr.’s ode to blaxploitation films tells its own charming story that can be weighed down by plot details, but the cast and crew understand the assignment and keep the movie bobbing along nicely.

“Cinnamon” starts with the prologue, “The Little Black Girl at the Gas Station,” a tense, twisty 10 minutes that could serve as its own short film.

We’re introduced to Jodi Jackson, a woman who works a dead-end job as a cashier at a gas station. She constantly stares up at the clock in hopes that time has moved faster. Just as the store closes, a cowboy customer enters, wanting an eskimo pie. Jodie is nervous at the arrival of this customer but tells him to be quick. Just a moment later, a stranger in a motorcycle helmet enters and immediately pulls a gun out. He demands that Jodie empty the register and security safe full of money. The Cowboy has his own gun and attempts to save Jodie, but the motorcyclist shoots and kills the Cowboy first and runs with the money. Jodie is left stunned and alone. After she gives her report to her boss and the police, we see her go home, where the motorcyclist is waiting for her in a bathtub with the money.

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Chapter 1: Jodi & Eddie

We see how Jodi and Eddie’s relationship developed just three months earlier. The two knew each other back in school, but their interest in and adoration for each other grows as Jodi reveals she wants to be a singer. While Jodi struggles to get by with her gas station job, Eddie reveals that he pickpockets and steals to make a living. Once Eddie hears her voice, he wants to do everything possible to help her. He asks her why she wants her stage name to be Cinnamon. Jodi explains a story where she thought she was allergic to cinnamon, but she was so tempted to taste it that she took the leap anyway. It was when she felt the bravest in her life.

Jodi and Eddie want to get away from their problems and poverty. They plan to steal from Jodi’s gas station and practice how they’ll act in the situation for the security cameras. Things quickly go wrong with the arrival of the Cowboy, whom Eddie has no choice but to kill.

Chapter 2: Wally and the Walkers

Wally is a hustler, a slick smooth talker who has had his fair share of businesses and is no stranger to the criminal underbelly of money. One of Wally’s businesses is his gas station, and while Wally may flirt with crime, his business partner Jamie Walker thrives in it. Jamie, in his cowboy hat and devious smile, has no problem solving any problem with violence.

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When Wally learns his gas station was robbed, he discovers the Cowboy customer was Jamie Walker’s brother. The Walkers are drug peddlers and crime connoisseurs. When Jamie informs Mama Walker that her son died, the family wants vengeance on those who stole from them and killed the Cowboy. Mama is deaf and communicates through a mix of sign language and flip-up shades. When the Walkers suspect Wally of trying to rob his own gas station, they kidnap him and bring him to his own liquor store.

At the gas station, the Walkers see the security footage and recognize that Jodi and Eddie staged the robbery. They still believe Wally had a part in it, and they kill him. Meanwhile, once Jamie gets a hold of Eddie, he shoots Eddie and leaves him dead. Jodi is now alone and forced to face The Walker family.

Chapter 3: The Pizza, The Pope, and The Dead Man

Though Eddie is left for dead, he survives his gunshot wound and finds his way back to The Walkers with the help of a pizza delivery. Perhaps the most contrived point of the movie is when Eddie jumps in the back of a pizza delivery car and then orders the driver to allow him to use it.

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At The Walker household, Jodi is whipped by Mama because she thinks Jodi is lying to her. But in a turn of events, Jamie arrives and informs his mom that her husband is the one who double-crossed the family and tried to steal their drugs. Eddie is outside listening to the whole reveal, and as tensions rise, Eddie sees the perfect opportunity to break in. In a flash, Jamie shoots his stepfather, Eddie comes in and shoots Mama, and Eddie and Jamie have a final bloody showdown that results in Jamie’s death.

Jodi and Eddie are able to get away, but as Eddie is bleeding, he asks her to turn on the radio in the car. Her song is playing, and they smile at each other.

“Cinnamon” is a movie of tremendous style and a tribute to the Blaxploitation films of the 70s. The tone could range from cool to cringe-inducing within minutes, from tense to tongue-in-cheek with a single-line delivery. The shifts in tone might give some viewers whiplash, but it’s always entertaining.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Jodi “Cinnamon” Jackson

Jodi is an aspiring singer who dreams of using her powerful voice as a career someday, but she currently works at a liquor store under a greedy boss. When she meets Eddie, she finds a potential escape from her job.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Respect,” and “Once on This Island.”

Eddie

Eddie is a charming crook who believes in Jodi’s dream. Due to his quick adoration for Jodie, he wants to do all he can to make her dream come true, including robbing her own liquor store. 

Jamie Walker

While Eddie may be a crook, Jamie is a hardened criminal, usually wearing a smile on his face and a cowboy hat on his head. He’s the most violent member of the Walker Family, but his loyalty to his mom and brother is his main motivator.

Wally

Wally is often sleazy but never dishonest about his part in the gas station robbery. Wally also dreams of becoming rich and owning the business for himself, but he remains in the hands of The Walkers. 

  • The actor is also known for their role in “In Living Color,” their role in “Major Payne,” and their role in “Lethal Weapon.”

“Mama” Walker

Mama is deaf and communicates most of her demands through a mix of sign language and a pair of sunglasses where each lens could flip up. As the matriarch of the Walkers, she is still cunning and vicious herself.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Coffy,” their role in “Foxy Brown,” and their role in “Jackie Brown.”

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Notable Performances or Moments

Jeremie Harris brings multiple dimensions to Jamie Walker and displays the villain’s charm and intimidation with ease. He delivers some of the best one-liners and lives up to the task of playing the detective, the muscle, the hustler, and the brother seeking vengeance.

Highlights

Dynamic Staging and Camera Choices Provide Excitement

“Cinnamon” has style to spare and immediately hooks the viewer in with its equally cheeky yet tense prologue. These tones are established with the camera choices, close-ups of Hailey Kilgore, telling the story from her POV, and keeping the camera moving throughout the action. Each chapter introduces a new opportunity to block and stage the action, and Director Bryian Keither Montgomery, Jr. is clearly having fun playing with the different genres each chapter requires.

Varying Genres With a Game Cast

“Cinnamon” is a crime story, a love story, a vengeance story, and a tribute to ‘70s filmmaking all at the same time. While the plot can sometimes go off the rails when juggling these different genres, the cast seems to relish the opportunity to simultaneously play heroes and villains. Kilgore plays the superstar and victim, David Iacono plays the lovesick boy and crook, Wayans plays a cartoon hustler fully aware of the danger he’s in. Everyone’s more than one thing and excels at the balancing act.

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On The Fence

Plot Details Can Bring Some Deep Eye-Rolling Silliness

“Cinnamon” varying tones can also test the viewer’s suspension of disbelief and undercut the movie’s drama. The caricatured aspects of Damon Wayans’ voice and Pam Grier’s communications sometimes feel as if they’re acting in a different movie, especially when Grier’s Mama starts to whip Kilgore’s Jodi with a branch. Another tough pill to swallow is the convenience of these characters coming together, dying, or returning. Why Mama Walker wanted Wally and his girlfriend dead without hearing them out is confusing; how they by chance linked the cash to Eddie, and how Eddie survived the gunshot and garbage shoot, requires a shrug of the shoulders.

An Underuse of Pam Grier

Pam Grier does what she can in her role, but to keep the Queen of Black Noir silent throughout the film is disappointing. Her presence is formidable, but one could dream of the gravitas and intimidation she could bring to an antagonist with lines.

General Information

Director(s) Bryian Keith Montgomery, Jr.
Screenplay By Bryian Keith Montgomery, Jr.
Based On N/A
Date Released Film Festival , Tubi ) June 23, 2023
Genre(s) Comedy, Crime, Thriller
Duration 1 hr, 30 mins
Content Rating Rated TV-MA
Noted Cast
Mama Pam Grier
Wally
Damon Wayans
Jamie Walker
Jeremie Harris
Eddie David Iacono
Jodi Jackson Hailey Kilgore

Movie Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Black Dynamite (a satire of ‘70s Blaxploitation movies)
  2. Cocaine Bear (a tribute to B-movies and Grindhouse cinema)
  3. The Blackening (a satire of horror tropes for Black people in scary movies)

Also, check our movies page for more recommendations and our latest movie reviews.

FAQs

What Is “Cinnamon” Rated And Why?

“Cinnamon” is rated TV-MA for language and violence. There is profanity and killings throughout. 

Where Can I Watch “Cinnamon”?

“Cinnamon” is now playing on Tubi.

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Cinnamon (2023) – Movie Review and Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
"Cinnamon" is a movie of tremendous style and a tribute to the Blaxploitation films of the '70s. The tone could range from cool to cringe-inducing within minutes, from tense to tongue-in-cheek with a single-line delivery. The shifts in tone might give some viewers whiplash, but it’s always entertaining. 
Highlights
Dynamic Staging and Camera Choices Provide Excitement
Varying Genres With a Game Cast
Disputable
Plot Details Can Bring Some Deep Eye-Rolling Silliness
An Underuse of Pam Grier
80

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