Common stars as a kind of latter-day Stringer Bell in the role of Uncle Vincent, in Sheldon Candis’s full-length feature debut “LUV,” which world premiered at Sundance this year and comes out in January. A newly-paroled convict with nearly half a twenty-year sentence to his name, Vincent arrives home to find himself a role model to his 11-year old nephew Woody — a shy, bright child played by newcomer Michael Rainey Jr. who, in his parents’ absence, has been living with his grandmother.
Vincent walks with a swagger that straddles yuppie and street-wise sensibilities, and aspires to real estate development on the Baltimore waterfront. He drives a long, sleek Mercedes and wears tailored suits. He plays the concerned parent, admonishing his young protege about homework. Vincent’s plan hits a snag, though, on a day that he keeps his nephew out of school to tutor Woody in “real world shit,” as financial expediency delivers him into the arms of his former underworld boss Mr. Fish (Dennis Haysbert), who enlists him in a high-end drug delivery.
In the trailer below, Woody’s vision of his charismatic uncle disintegrates as Vincent returns over the course of a single day to a world of arranged killings and duffel bag cash drops. The clip speeds toward an apparently violent denouement and in its closing moments, Vincent recalls yet another of “The Wire”‘s seminal characters, Wood Harris’s Avon Barksdale, who was, ultimately, as he once had it, “just a gangster, I suppose.”