Everything Everywhere All at Once director criticised for describing Spike Lee’s Malcolm X as a ‘crime movie’

Remark has prompted a debate on social media

Louis Chilton
Tuesday 07 February 2023 14:05 GMT
Everything Everywhere All At Once trailer

Daniel Scheinert, one of the directors of Everything Everywhere All at Once, has been criticised for describing Malcolm X as a “crime movie”.

The 1992 film, directed by Spike Lee, followed the life of civil rights activist Malcolm X, from his childhood through to his assassination in 1965.

Together with fellow director Daniel Kwan, Scheinert forms half of the filmmaking duo known as the Daniels, whose 2022 hit Everything Everywhere is currently the frontrunner for Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards.

The Daniels recently appeared on Criterion’s “Closet Picks” webseries, in which celebrities are invited into a room full of DVDs and Blu Rays and allowed to pick out items to take home, explaining their choices on camera.

In the video, Scheinert can be seen selecting Malcolm X, telling the camera: “Malcolm X is such a riveting crime saga. Maybe my favourite crime movie? It just blew my mind when I first saw it like a year ago.”

His remarks prompted criticism on social media.

“Reminder that good directors of good movies can also, like so many artists, be bizarrely ignorant,” one person wrote. “I loved Everything Everywhere All At Once, but how do you even call Malcolm X a ‘crime movie’ lmao.”

“It’s genuinely insane if your takeaway from Malcolm X was that it was a ‘crime’ movie,” wrote another.

“I need to know what crimes he thinks Malcolm X committed,” someone else commented.

Some people, however, defended Scheinert’s characterisation of the film, noting that the movie was influenced stylistically by Martin Scorsese’s 1990 crime epic Goodfellas, and that the first section of the film does explore criminality in Malcolm X’s youth.

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X
Denzel Washington as Malcolm X (Warner Brothers)

“Maybe i’m an idiot and I personally wouldn’t call it a ‘crime movie’, but Spike patterned and stylised Malcolm X on Goodfellas, from the criminal beginnings to the ‘on the run nervous about being hit’ final stretch, so *maybe* give the guy some benefit of the doubt?” one person suggested.

However, others pushed back against this explanation.

“This first ~1/3 of it details the criminal aspects of Malcolm X‘s early life, sure, but using that as an excuse to call a three-hour biopic of one of the most important 20th century American revolutionaries a ‘crime saga’ is insane and at least passively racist,” another person argued.

The Independent has contacted a representative of Scheinert for further comment.

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