There are real stories that, if they were presented directly to the public as fictitious facts, the scriptwriters would be accused of presenting an implausible text, too fictional. The story of The big cigar: The great escape, which Apple TV premieres this Friday, is one of them.

In 1974, Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panthers, fled to Cuba to escape authorities after he was accused of the murder of Kathleen Smith, a 17-year-old prostitute, with whom he claimed he had not had sex. nothing to do with it (and for which he was ultimately never tried).

As it did? With producer Bert Schneider, who had then already made Easy Rider, he planned a mockumentary with the aim of helping Newton leave the country. He had been a disruptor in the film industry and, seeing the politician and activist for the rights of black people, he wanted to be part of his social revolution.

It is interesting to see what the work is based on: the report published by journalist Joshuah Bearman, who had also signed the text that served as the starting point for Argo, Ben Affleck’s film about the fake filming of a film in Iran for helping six members of the United States embassy escape also in 1979.

In The Big Cigar, the scriptwriter is Jim Hecht, who offers a substitute for those who still regret the cancellation of Victory Time: The Lakers Dynasty on HBO. They share the tone anchored in comedy and the treatment of the image. The rhythm, editing and presentation of characters at times are also dynamic.

With André Holland (Moonlight) as Newton and Alessandro Nivola (Amsterdam) as Schneider, the viewer can learn about the social work of the Black Panthers (and the tension between those who supported their social policies and those who believed in armed struggle) and the grotesqueness of the escape of the most wanted man in the country.