Smart, funny and way too real.
One of the Best of 2022
Smart, funny and way too real.
|Wow. The type of movie that can take your breath away from a combination of laughter, shock and heart-breaking tragedy. Emergency is a dark comedy that can keep you laughing despite the seriousness and real world realizations of the consequences. Kunle and Sean are two Black students at university; they go from a teacher using the N-word to get ready for a night of partying to an unconscious White girl.
Directed by: Carey Williams
Screenplay by: K.D. Dávila
Starring: RJ Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins
They don’t know this girl. She was lying unconscious on the floor of their house when they got home, half-dressed, obviously drunk, possibly drugged. The film very quickly becomes a tale of three minority college kids who want to do the right thing but have to consider the responses of the rest of the world – primarily the systemic racism inherent in law enforcement. Not right away, but eventually the film also adds on how class differences can change the face of the systemic racism.
There’s a lot of comedy born from how perfectly each of the characters represent real students. Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) is very studious and wants to consider what’s best for the girl; Sean (RJ Cyler) is the party animal, who places partying first and then their own safety as his only priorities; Carlos (Sebastian Chacon) who was home playing video games somehow oblivious to a drunk girl crashing through their front door, he’s just ready for an adventure. Maddie (Sabrina Carpenter) is the girl’s sister, she’s at a party, drunk, in hysterics looking for her missing sister and calls on her friend Alice (Madison Thompson) the type of girl who can sober up in an instant to help a friend during a potential tragedy, and Rafael (Diego Abraham), Alice’s supportive boyfriend.
Unsurprisingly, as drunk and stoned college kids are prone to do, a lot of their choices aren’t ideal, but – and this is what keeps the film so good – all of their choices are understandable. Sean doesn’t want to call the cops, we can understand why; Maddie is lashing out at people and making quick judgements, we can understand why. Most of their choices have very funny consequences to keep the audience laughing, but at the heart of the film, these choices came from realistic people and experiences. Racism is a huge part of the movie, but also in Maddie and her sister’s relationship, it shows how hurtful words can directly lead to a potential tragedy.
I really don’t want to give anything more away. But we have 7 different, unique, realistic and complex characters that are each approaching a situation from their own view-point. Eventually all 7 characters come together, but the aftermath of the potential tragedy leaves different scars on each of them.
Emergency is a smart, funny, powerful movie that tackles racism on a college campus and walks away with more messages of friendship and healing, and the obvious deficiencies in American law enforcement and how it all depends on the colour of your skin, or your age, or the amount of money in your parents’ bank account, or who you’re friends with. All of that is so succinctly tied into this fast and funny movie. A must watch.