Three men stand together in warm, bundled clothing. One of them points a gun at another. Still from Run Nixon.

Film Review: Run Nixon

Film Reviews

Run Nixon
Director: SkyDirects

World Premiere: 11/22

In American society, money runs everything and always comes from somewhere. Whether it’s stolen, borrowed or earned, the origin of someone’s cash usually comes with stipulations. These factors can be increasingly heartbreaking and violent and are especially true in some of the most marginalized communities. This idea is at the heart of the 2023 action film Run Nixon, which provides a uniquely Black take on the experience of living in an oppressed world reliant on money.

Run Nixon tells the story of stripper Stacy (Sicily Cameron) and her ex-crip turned-mechanic boyfriend Dre, or “Mookie” (Dreux Pierre Frédéric, You Got Served). Together these two live through the financial hardships of Las Vegas with their young, ill son, Nixon (Emperor Kaioyus, How to Raise a Black Boy). After suffering a heart attack, the young boy needs a heart transplant, putting the parents in dire straits. This motivates Stacy to take action, and she steals some easily accessible cash from her boss’ acquaintance, Slice, played by Jordan Lee Brown with a borderline satirical take on the “mentally unstable antagonist” trope. Two years pass since the inciting robbery, and after Slice identifies Stacy as the perpetrator, he begins to take revenge, with the two parents fighting to stop him.

Run Nixon loses much of its momentum in its action thriller sequences where the filmmaking struggles to match its ambition. An over-mixed score, jarring edits, poorly-timed camera movements and shaky acting all work to derail the film’s sense of intensity.

However, in the moments when Run Nixon can relax, a glimmer shines through. It’s in these more human scenes that conversation takes precedence, and seemingly simple dialogues give personality to an otherwise dull experience. These quieter moments show the true subtext of Run Nixon, which is one of money and its power. And without these scenes—such as Stacy listening to her coworker’s freestyle or Dre meeting up with his old gang—Run Nixon would not stand out. 

I’d personally like to see SkyDirects’ next feature take a more melodramatic approach (something akin to Sean Baker’s forever underrated film Tangerine), emphasizing Sky’s ability to capture an authentic and engaging performance. –Keegan Hayes

Read more reviews of action thrillers:
Film Review: The Killer

Film Review: The Creator