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Tyler Perry takes on the erotic thriller genre with Mea Culpa

Film mogul Tyler Perry continues his successful relationship with streaming giant Netflix for his 24th directorial effort, "Mea Culpa." As he always does, Perry also scripts the film, which is toplined by Kelly Rowland and Trevante Rhodes. Criminal defense attorney Mea Harper (Rowland) is in a rocky marriage with her husband Kal (Sean Sager) due to his past indiscretions and overbearing mother-in-law.

Mea hopes to improve her financial situation by taking on a murder case of a charming artist named Zyair Malloy (played by Trevante Rhodes). However, she soon discovers that her brother-in-law Ray (played by Nick Sager) will oppose her in court. As she investigates the case to determine whether her client is innocent or guilty, she realizes everyone has something to hide. The truth is more complex than it appears.

Following "Acrimony" and, to a lesser extent, "Temptation," director Tyler Perry is no stranger to the thriller genre. His latest film seems to be going down the rabbit hole to eroticism. Perry knows that when crafting an erotic thriller, the most significant selling point is attractive leads, which he has in the form of Kelly Rowland and Trevante Rhodes. From the moment the two take the screen, the audience clearly knows that Mea will eventually fall victim to Zyaur's charms. The angle, though, is how do we get there?

Perry takes his time building up that angle and reveals layers in Mea's personal life that play a part in her decision. Rowland more than steps up to the task, eschewing away the innocence and kindheartedness she's displayed in the previous film. Not to mention, Rowland is gorgeous and has a glorious melanin aura whenever she enters a room.

Regarding Trevante Rhodes, he appears to effortlessly portray his role, bringing just the right amount of arrogance that some men may identify with while simultaneously causing the ladies to swoon over his sex appeal. Apart from RonReaco Lee, who plays Jimmy (Ronreaco Lee), Mea's private investigator, and Shannon Thornton as Charlise, Mea's kind sister-in-law, the rest of the cast is somewhat unknown. However, they all deliver performances that are essential for a thriller.

It's no secret that Tyler Perry is a director you either love or loathe, and I'm somewhere in the middle; for the most part, I enjoyed "Mea Culpa," but the film isn't without its failings. Since this is billed as a courtroom thriller, I hoped to get a showdown between Mea and her arrogant brother-in-law, but it never happens. Additionally, experienced thrillers may see some twists coming a mile away.

Tyler Perry's goal was to craft a modern-day erotic thriller in the vein of the one that dominated the late eighties/early nineties with a melanin cast, and he succeeded.

Final Grade: B

"Mea Culpa" is streaming on Netflix now.

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