Keith Stanfield struggles with wrongful incarceration in exclusive 'Crown Heights' clip

Keith Stanfield is set to have a big Aug. 25, thanks to the simultaneous debut on that date of his two latest movies: Death Note, a Netflix-exclusive feature from horror director Adam Wingard (Blair Witch), and Crown Heights, a based-on-real-events drama that will arrive in theaters after a successful premiere at this past January’s Sundance Film Festival. In the latter, Stanfield plays Colin Warner, a Brooklyn man who spent two decades in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, until he finally gained freedom thanks to the efforts of his best friend Carl King (Nnamdi Asomugha). And in our new exclusive clip from the film, we get a peek at the inner turmoil that consumed Warner while he served that unjust sentence.

In the scene (above), Stanfield’s protagonist meets with Natalie Paul’s Antoinette, and sternly rebuffs her desire to maintain their relationship given that, according to him, he’s never going to be let out of jail. Despite Antoinette’s protestations, Warner storms off, and promptly makes a phone call to King to let him know that he has to halt his efforts to get him released — not because he doesn’t desire freedom, but because the constant promise of liberation is making his stay behind bars that much more painful. It’s a brief, powerful moment that highlights the fierceness of Stanfield’s performance, which should further enhance his growing reputation as a young actor of commanding presence and intensity.

Written and directed by Matt Ruskin, Crown Heights arrives in theaters on Aug. 25.

Watch the trailer: