The Day Shall Come

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
The Day Shall Come Movie Poster Image
FBI creates terrorist plot and arrests innocents; cursing.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 87 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Law enforcement is more interested in announcing they've foiled a terrorist plot than in protecting innocent people. American law enforcement routinely cuts deals with criminals who offer illegal arms and drug deals to law-abiding citizens in order to entrap them in "terrorist" plots those citizens would not otherwise participate in. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kendra has the tiniest bit of a conscience left, but she's nearly as corrupt as the rest of her FBI bosses and cohorts.

Violence

The FBI entices a broke, eccentric, and delusional Miami dad by dangling large sums of money if he agrees to traffic in nuclear weapons and sell them to white supremacists. SWAT teams and armed military and police units surround a donut joint to arrest an innocent unarmed man. A man grabs another by the scrotum. A man has been charged with having sex with minors, but avoids jail by helping the FBI set up sting operations.

Sex
Language

"F--k," "s--t," "ass," and "butt," "jerk off," "d--k," and "piss."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man tries to sell fake drugs on the street. His friend, pretending to be law enforcement, then confiscates the fake drugs and money from the buyer. Adults smoke marijuana.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the 2019 satire The Day Shall Come is, according to the filmmakers, "based on a hundred true stories" of the FBI creating fake domestic terrorist plots, then using large sums of money to lure unsuspecting non-terrorist citizens to carry the plots out, ending in their arrests and convictions. It's a scathing look at FBI terrorist stings that have had 100 percent conviction rates. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "d--k," and "bitch." Fake drugs are sold and fake weapons are trafficked. Adults smoke marijuana. A man grabs another by the scrotum. A man has been charged with having sex with minors, but avoids jail by helping the FBI set up sting operations.

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What's the story?

In THE DAY SHALL COME, Moses (Marchant Davis) is a delusional black eccentric who raises ducks and grows his own food in the middle of the Miami, Florida, projects. He holds services for his family and four followers, praying to a combination of Allah, Jesus, and "Black Santa," in his fantasy effort to stop the gentrification that is uprooting the poor in the burgeoning south Florida community. When he and his family are threatened with eviction, his crooked landlord says Moses can stay if he can deliver nuclear weapons to a white supremacist group. The FBI has, in the meantime, targeted Moses and his odd beliefs as a terrorist threat and sets up a gun-running sting, creating a terrorist plot and inviting the unsuspecting Moses to participate. Instead, Moses, who doesn't believe in the use of guns, tries to notify the FBI of the plot, but he reveals it to Kendra (Anna Kendrick), the agent who set the plot up. She realizes Moses is harmless but doesn't want to get in trouble at work. Her boss Andrew (Denis O'Hare) is under pressure to bust more "terrorist" plots, so he orders Kendra to proceed, even with the knowledge that they're using FBI resources to arrest a harmless guy. When the FBI provides Moses with empty nuclear canisters, he and his followers fill them with urine. Even the criminal FBI informants don't want to participate, although they remain motivated by payments and promises that they won't go to jail for their crimes, as well as "conviction bonuses" if their targets go to prison. One is threatened by the FBI with "20 years in a penitentiary that uses your screams to power the lights."

Is it any good?

This movie is sometimes clever, but it ultimately doesn't work. It would have more convincingly conveyed the important news that American citizens are being railroaded by their own law enforcement agencies if it had been set as a drama rather than a comedy. The uneven tone throws into question whether such tactics could be real when, in fact, they are. British writer-director Chris Morris tends to lean toward his comic roots and thus gives corrupt FBI agents outlooks that go beyond simple cynicism to absurdity. The wonderful Denis O'Hare as an FBI boss tosses off Orwellian gobbledygook to justify sending SWAT teams to arrest someone who doesn't want the (fake) nuclear weapons the FBI is trying to force on him. If this were a bit less silly, if the black man under scrutiny didn't seem like a harmless idiot, the moment would be heartbreakingly funny enough and utterly credible.

The equally cynical but far more affecting film Wag the Dog comes to mind here because in that movie the efforts to use government power to fool the public always seemed real and plausible. Here, instead, we have a main character who runs around wearing a shower curtain cape and Napoleon hat, claiming that God talks to him through ducks. The Day Shall Come disrespects the character and, in a way, the audience as well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the idea that law enforcement tends to target minorities, leading to the large minority population in our prisons. What can be done to stop this?

  • What do you think about the morality of pressing someone to do something unlawful and then arresting them? Do you think impoverished Moses would otherwise have tried to buy nuclear weapons in The Day Shall Come if the FBI hadn't set up the sting that offered him $100,000?

  • What do you think it does to society when law enforcement, charged with protecting us from criminals, is actually enlisting law-abiding citizens into criminal plots that wouldn't otherwise exist?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to laugh

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