Filmed in secret in Cuba and released with little fanfare on Amazon this morning, “Guava Island” is a musical-romance-thriller from the team behind FX’s “Atlanta,” director Hiro Murai and its star, the unstoppable Donald Glover (known in his music persona as Childish Gambino). Glover casts himself as a man of the people in the film—a rebel with some Childish Gambino songs in his heart—and its inspired however slight storytelling makes for another great display of Glover’s many talents as an entertainer.
In an opening animated sequence, “Guava Island” tells of how the title land was once intended to be without love and war, before being essentially colonized with factories by a company named Red Cargo. The script by Stephen Glover then takes place on a typical Saturday for two of its citizens, Demi (Glover) and his girlfriend Kofi (Rihanna). It’s a work day, where Kofi is in the factory stitching fabrics with other women like Yara (Letitia Wright), while Demi is shown singing on the radio (“Red’s Cargo is the best cargo”), offering jingles meant to calm the masses. Then, he’s out of there—with a guitar around his back, he dashes through crowds while ask people him about the festival he’s meant to perform tonight,