British satirist Chris Morris’ 2010 directorial debut, Four Lions, explored the foibles of a group of incompetent wannabe Islamic terrorists. His new movie The Day Shall Come also comes packed with satirical humor, but the focus of has shifted from England to America, and from bumbling terrorists to the bumbling law enforcement agents trying to take them down.
As seen in the exclusive trailer above, The Day Shall Come stars Anna Kendrick and Denis O’Hare as FBI counterterrorism agents eager to stop the next 9/11 before it happens. They soon discover a small radical black collective in Miami led by Moses Al Shabaz (Marchánt Davis), who preaches a mix of Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and-old school Black Panther ideology to inspire his comrades to rise up and improve their lives. He’s only been able to recruit three other members, however, as well as his wife, Venus (Danielle Brooks), and their children. Needless to say, they don’t exactly come off like the next al-Qaeda, but with the FBI’s help, maybe they can be!
“This is about people who don’t have any true plan or intention to bring down the government,” Morris tells EW. “They’re not going to bomb anywhere, they’re not even going to push somebody over, but they are turned into people who are categorized as terrorists by the state. It’s a comedy about the degree of talk, twist, and distortion that is needed to do that. It’s a satire about law enforcement.”
The trailer describes The Day Shall Come as “based on a hundred true stories,” and there are indeed several like it from the annals of the FBI’s post-9/11 activity. Morris says he was first drawn in by the so-called Liberty City Seven case back in 2006, when seven young black men from Miami were accused of trying to orchestrate a “full ground war” against the United States government. After a few years and three trials, five of the seven were convicted on terrorism charges — even though their main crime seems to have been trying to take $50,000 from government informants posing as al-Qaeda agents.
In similar fashion, in The Day Shall Come Moses is sorely tempted by government informants’ offers of money. He and his family despise guns, but they are extremely poor and could really use the money. But if their only crime is taking money that was offered by the government itself… are they really dangerous criminals in need of prosecution?
“The film is a story about Moses and his family stumbling into a trap that they don’t even see,” Morris says. “I wanted to tell it that way because these are the kinds of real human beings who end up being run through this invisible machine and minced. It needed to be their story. But I didn’t set out to tell a story about some people living in Liberty City. I set out to discover why the TV news and government were telling enormous lies. The U.S. attorney general stood there on courthouse steps saying this was a full-scale ground war being planned in Miami. He would’ve or should’ve known that these were clearly just guys who tried to bag $50,000.”
The Day Shall Come hits theaters and VOD on Sept. 27. Watch the trailer above.