Review by Adam Donato
Bosco tells the real-life story of an incarcerated man and his pursuit of freedom. Aubrey Joseph stars as the title character in his first-ever leading role in a film. The film is based on a book from the real-life Quawntay Adams, and the fact that he produced this movie adds to how inspiring his story truly is. Nicholas Manuel Pino writes and directs the film, with his only other major credit coming from composing for The Equalizer. Since the film is debuting on Peacock, it will be tough to see Bosco making a huge splash. Is this true story inspiring enough to attract subscribers to Peacock?
Joseph pulls off a solid performance despite his character being hard to understand for most of the movie. He mumbles throughout the film, making it difficult to discern his character's words. This was exceedingly frustrating since a good bit of the dialogue in the movie is from the narration of the title character. Tyrese Gibson is one of the more notable names attached to the film. The star barely clocks any real screen time, but his opening scene does a good job of setting the tone for the film and setting up the themes for the piece. Vivica A. Fox and Thomas Jane also top the billing and are welcomed names on the project. Nikki Blonsky, star of the Hairspray remake, is one of the better surprises of the film. Her character deeply sympathizes with Bosco, and it's one of the more engaging threads of the film.
While Bosco does ham up the inspiring storyline, it's supposed to be overtly inspiring. It's more poignant to hear Bosco's inner monologues — the real thoughts of a man incarcerated with no end in sight — since the story is based directly on the book. The mental and emotional bargaining of the main character is compelling enough to hold the audience's attention throughout. The third act is the film's brightest spot, as all the individual threads come together in a thrilling escape. It's no Shawshank Redemption, but it's a solid prison film with plenty of interesting and relatable reflections.
Would Bosco have the sauce to attract a crowd at the box office? Probably not, but it's solid enough to attract fans of the real-life Bosco — it's an uplifting story about a subject of real divisiveness in our country today. Tales of the downtrodden not letting the system hold them down deserve to be told. If it's condemned to the depths of Peacock's library, so be it. The film releases on the second day of Black History Month, and checking out the film is a good way to support Black stories and artists.
Bosco is now streaming on Peacock.