Clichés un­der­cut Wall Street tale

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - — Sheri Lin­den

De­ter­mined to find his foot­ing in the Man­hat­tan fast lane, the Wall Street striver at the cen­ter of “The Price” is ea­ger to put glam­our-free New Jer­sey, and the work­ing-class strug­gles of his Nige­rian im­mi­grant fam­ily, in the rearview mir­ror. Writer-direc­tor An­thony Onah of­fers fresh in­sights into the death­less topic of the Amer­i­can dream, but just as am­bi­tion eclipses the pro­tag­o­nist’s judg­ment, the movie loses its way in an ex­cess of generic story strands.

Ground­ing the mud­dle of gen­er­a­tional clash, work­place pol­i­tics and wan ro­mance is Aml Ameen’s sub­tle, con­tained per­for­mance. Caught be­tween the emo­tional chaos of his fam­ily and the bro cul­ture of in­vest­ment bank­ing, Ad­der­allpop­ping Har­vard grad Seyi pushes him­self re­lent­lessly, even­tu­ally re­sort­ing to il­le­gal tac­tics to boost his cor­po­rate pro­file. When he’s not vy­ing for po­si­tion in the high-rise of­fice, his warm, re­laxed in­ter­ac­tions with lobby se­cu­rity guard Iji (Craig muMs Grant), a fel­low Nige­rian, make it clear how much of a strain the up­stairs per­for­mance is.

A din­ner-date dis­cus­sion about racism has a brac­ing spon­tane­ity; it’s also the only in­ter­est­ing thing that hap­pens in the on-off re­la­tion­ship be­tween Seyi and white med­i­cal stu­dent Liz (Lucy Grif­fiths). In­stead of press­ing deeper into the one-of-a-kind specifics of his story, Onah tries to drum up a high-fi­nance thriller. The home-front melo­drama in­volv­ing Seyi’s ail­ing fa­ther (Souléy­mane Sy Sa­vané, of “Good­bye Solo”) proves just as forced.

It’s the glim­mers of pen­e­trat­ing ob­ser­va­tion that make the over­load of clichés so frus­trat­ing in Onah’s first fea­ture, and sug­gest bet­ter things for his sec­ond. “The Price.” Not rated. Run­ning time: 1 hour, 32 min­utes. Play­ing: AMC Or­ange 30, Or­ange.

Sa­muel Gold­wyn Films / Dara Ju The Movie LLC

SEYI (AML AMEEN) tries to put his Nige­rian im­mi­grant fam­ily’s strug­gles be­hind him in “The Price.”

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