The first full-length film from writer and director Bryian Keith Montomery Jr., Cinnamon is a thriller that follows the story of Jodi Jackson (Hailey Kilgore), a young woman who has ambitions of being a successful singer and actress but is currently stuck working at a gas station due to her lack of finances.

However, all of that changes one evening when Jodi’s store is subject to an attempted robbery by a man who turns out to be Eddie, her former classmate and current petty criminal.

The robbery that changes Jodi’s life in Bryian Keith Montgomery Jr’s Cinnamon. Image property of Tubi.

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Its story divided into three specific chapters, when the film isn’t in full-blown mayhem mode, Cinnamon is driven by the blossoming relationship between Jodi and Eddie.

While Jodi has nothing to show for the work she puts into every aspect of her life, Eddie has never really cared about anything because he steals whatever he needs.

Reunited with her old friend, Jodi slowly starts to adopt Eddie’s ‘nothing to lose’ lifestyle and finds the encouragement to fully embrace her dreams.

Bringing to life this story of self-discovery is Cinnamon‘s supporting cast, specifically the Walker family, all of whom are able to bring Montgomery Jr.’s dialogue to life in unexpectedly mesmerizing ways.

At the head of the family is Mama (Pam Grier). Mama has one of the most racially intense backstories of any film protagonist of recent memory.

Left deaf in both ears and blind in one-eye in the aftermath, she mostly communicates her desires by flipping up the lenses of her sunglasses à la DC’s Two-Face and his signature coin; the good eye means mercy while the bad eye leads to violence or death. For a character that has so little dialogue, Grier’s presence is still quite intimidating.

Pam Grier as Mama in Bryian Keith Montgomery Jr’s Cinnamon. Image property of Tubi.

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However, perhaps the most memorable of the fictional family members is James (Jeremie Harris, Legion). In this role, Harris teeters between extremes, going from comical, to understanding, to psychopathically homicidal, all within the blink of an eye.

Meanwhile, his stepfather Ernest (Jay DeVon Johnson), balances out his son’s mania with a cold and calculating demeanor. Providing a false sense of sympathy to whomever he may need something from at any given moment, when he doesn’t get what he wants, he bites like a snake, giving no hesitation to being as cutthroat as possible.

Jodi (Hailey Kilgore) counts the seconds till her shift ends in Cinnamon (2023), Tubi

Jodi (Hailey Kilgore) counts the seconds till her shift ends in Cinnamon (2023), Tubi

Rounding out the cast is Wally (Damon Waynes), the owner of the gas station and car salesman extraordinaire. Wally will do anything to make money, which is particularly funny given that he’s swimming in debt. Unfortunately, his character isn’t nearly as selfish or as smarmy as you would like him to be, but at least Wayans seems to be having fun talking out of the side of his mouth and wearing a hairpiece. His line, “Why he mad at the pies though,” is one of the funniest in the film.

Damon Wayans as Wally in Bryian Keith Montgomery Jr’s Cinnamon. Image property of Tubi.

As far as character interactions are concerned, Cinnamon is extremely well rounded. However, It’s also frustrating that most of the characters featured in these interactions end up being little more than filler.

Cinnamon is a lot like Game of Thrones in the sense that you shouldn’t get too attached to anyone because they’re probably going to die. And while they die in service of a worthwhile-but-admittedly-apparent-from-the-start big picture, the end will leave you wishing that your favorite characters had more to contribute to it.


Eddie (David Iacono) is mesmerized by Jodi's (Hailey Kilgore) voice in Cinnamon (2023), Tubi

Eddie (David Iacono) is mesmerized by Jodi’s (Hailey Kilgore) voice in Cinnamon (2023), Tubi

Meanwhile, when it comes to story, everything seems to fall apart in the third act.

Jodi and Eddie’s ambitions are simple enough, as are the intentions of the Walker family, but once drugs enter the film, Montgomery Jr takes Cinnamon in a slightly peculiar direction.

Further, there’s a moment in the film that not only undercuts a certain character’s entire story, but also does so for no reason. The character literally goes nowhere after this moment.

I’m avoiding spoilers here, but trust me, you’ll know what I’m talking about it when you see it.

Wally (Damon Wayans) hocks his wares in Cinnamon (2023), Tubi

Wally (Damon Wayans) hocks his wares in Cinnamon (2023), Tubi

Sporting influences from such films as Pulp Fiction, No Country For Old Men, and Smokin’ Aces, Cinnamon boasts strong characters, poignant performances, and one hell of a screenplay from a first time director.

However, Cinnamon is the type of thriller where its build-up is far more satisfying than the eventual resolution. It’s elegantly crafted behind and in front of the camera, but that desire for a monumental coup de grâce for such memorable characters is never actually quenched.

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Tribeca Film Festival 2023 'Cinnamon' Review - A Chaotic But Intriguing Robbery Gone Wrong
  • Well-Written Dialogue
  • Intriguing Characters
  • Bryian Keith Montgomery shows tons of potential as a filmmaker
  • Ending is a bit lukewarm upon reception
  • The aforementioned fizzling out of a certain character
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