For a multitude of college students, it’s their first time away from home with some sense of freedom while trying to navigate the landscape of who you are as an individual, student and friend. Those memories will sometimes be covered with laughter or sheer shame over the decisions you made with and without your friends that can cultivate and color lives for an instant or forever.
After an epic night of partying, Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and Sean (RJ Cyler) return home to find a woman (Maddie Nichols) unconscious in their apartment. Worried the police will suspect them of wrongdoing, they ultimately make the decision of trying to get the woman assistance turning their party night into an unintentional road trip of consequences.
Directed by Carey Williams and screenplay by K.D. Dávila, Emergency boldly and unapologetically lays out race relations, in all its ridiculousness, on the table for all to see like a dirty family secret waiting to become exposed. The disparity and despicable prejudices that permeate people of color, especially, young males, has yet to equalize in a society so full of hatred and fear that good samaritan deeds are overlooked and under appreciated.
Yet, Williams and Dávila have managed to bring humor within Emergency, as they weave in a little ‘House Party’ sprinkled with a ‘Goldilocks and The Three Bears’ road trip ending with apologies arriving a day late and a dollar short. RJ Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins and Sebastian Chacon are equally and individually on fire! RJ gives Sean that insecure edge that make you care about his future, while Watkins, as the straight man of the bunch hits a nerve with straddling the line of a young man realizing that succumbing to peer pressure could result in irreversible consequences. Yet Carlos stays true to himself and his buddies without wavering while commanding a newfound respect along the way.
This film is immensely powerful for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it goes all the way there, regarding the free flowing use of “others” generalizing the ‘N’ word. As one of the characters states, “…we have one rule for white people to follow and they don’t like it because they don’t like us telling them what to do.” #facts #truth
Or that moment, where the Kunle, Sean and and Carlos (Sebastian Chacon) are parked on a residential street trying to figure out their next move and a white couple (with a Black Lives Matter sign in their yard) insinuates the boys are only there to sell or drop drugs. Yet the most poignant moment of all is during one of the final scenes its discovered no matter how well intended you may be, if you are black or brown, the assumption will always be one of guilt.
Just when you think Dávila is about to take you on a corny, teen road trip flick, she destroys your theory blasting it to hell and back. This film and its impact will linger for decades as it exacerbates the pulse of race relations and how what we really don’t need is another apology or thoughts and prayers. We need less mouth moving and more positive reinforcing action taking place sooner than later.
Produced by Amazon Prime Video, operating in the vein of Blindspotting, Monsters or Men, Two Distant Strangers and even harkening back to to Do the Right Thing, Emergency is a thought provoking piece that will inspire action and less flapping of the gums when it drops on May 27th.