Entertainment

Emergency Review: Fruitvale Station Meets Superbad In This Tense Indie

Donald Elise Watkins, RJ Cyler, and Sebastian Chacon in Emergency

Writer K.D. Dávila (Salvation) almost had something special with the script for Emergency. The film, directed Carey Williams (Cherry Waves), has a solid backbone in RJ Cyler’s performance (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), but when it comes to less established actors like Donald Elise Watkins (The Free State of Jones), the tone of the film becomes imbalanced. As a dark college comedy with racial themes, Emergency would have soared. But as a film mostly about young Black men dealing with race, it is not necessarily special. That being said, the film is very funny at points and, critically, the dramatic elements of the story begin to coalesce by the end.

SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY

When Sean (Cyler) and Kunle (Watkins) prepare for their last night of college partying, an unwelcome surprise awaits them both at home. They approach their porch and notice the door is already open. Inside is a half-naked and drunk white girl who is totally incapacitated. Kunle wants to call the cops and Sean implores him to remember they are Black men and this looks bad. Ultimately, they decide to put the partying on hold and drive her to the hospital. She finally wakes up in the car and begins attacking them, thinking she has been kidnapped. Once Sean and Kunle realize the girl’s friends are also under the impression she is kidnapped, the pressure is on to clear their names from a crime that doesn’t exist.

Donald Elise Watkins, RJ Cyler, and Sebastian Chacon in Emergency

Emergency lands with an astounding finish. A lot of the film is imperfect, but there is no denying the emotional toll each character goes through at the end. Emergency closes on what might feel like a happy ending. Watkins’ character has learned something new about being Black, and his friendship with Cyler’s Sean is redefined in a positive light. But the brilliance of Williams’ direction is that he tricks one into thinking he forgot this was a movie about race. The final frame of the film is simple yet striking. A young Black man is enjoying the fruits of his labor with a huge smile. Sirens begin to blare — but not for him. It doesn’t matter because Kunle’s face falls in the exact same shot where audiences just saw him smiling. It’s a poignant reminder that the police have been haunting Black America since the beginning of time.

RJ Cyler has been in small indies and budding multi-million dollar franchises. In Emergency, he is extremely charismatic and gets to play a nuanced character who is truly holding all of his cards close to his chest until the end of the film. On the other hand, Donald Elise Watkins is playing the naive nerd that is not set up to be likable. Unfortunately for audiences, the film is simply better when Cyler is the focus. In scenes where Cyler is passionately trying to get Watkins to tap into the scarier sides of his Blackness, the film falters. While Watkins is not on the same level as Cyler, it’s the script that fails them both in this regard.

Sabrina Carpenter in Emergency

Emergency is based on Williams and Dávila’s 2018 short of the same name and the feature feels like a homegrown indie in a good way. However, the dramatic parts of the film feel stretched out at times. The central conflict between the leads is how to define Blackness. As the film takes place in one night, it feels unbelievable that anyone would rethink their racial identity in hours. Furthermore, one can only stand to watch Watkins and Cyler argue so many times without it feeling repetitive. There is plenty of meat on the bone of the film, but ironically, it is not always dramatic. Emergency has jokes but never lives in them long enough. The film is not long and it has less than ten speaking parts, yet the script insists on rehashing arguments already done in lieu of comedic scenes, or even just scenes about the young men being college students.

If one’s takeaway from Emergency is that it succeeds in delving into Black people’s relationships with white people and the police, that checks out. If viewers think Emergency is overwrought and jams in a lot of ideas about progress, that makes sense, too. Either way, the film starts off hot and ends with a pitch-perfect finish, but one’s patience about everything in between may vary. It’s not so much that Emergency has its ups and downs, it’s more so that the two leads are given the same task through different lenses, and that dynamic is not sustainable over the course of a feature-length film.

Emergency is in select theaters May 20 and is streaming on Amazon Prime Video May 27. The film is 105 minutes and rated R for pervasive language, drug use, and some sexual references.

Our Rating:

3 out of 5 (Good)


More information

Emergency Review: Fruitvale Station Meets Superbad In This Tense Indie

Donald Elise Watkins, RJ Cyler, and Sebastian Chacon in Emergency

Writer K.D. Dávila (Salvation) almost had something special with the script for Emergency. The film, directed Carey Williams (Cherry Waves), has a solid backbone in RJ Cyler’s performance (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), but when it comes to less established actors like Donald Elise Watkins (The Free State of Jones), the tone of the film becomes imbalanced. As a dark college comedy with racial themes, Emergency would have soared. But as a film mostly about young Black men dealing with race, it is not necessarily special. That being said, the film is very funny at points and, critically, the dramatic elements of the story begin to coalesce by the end.
SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
When Sean (Cyler) and Kunle (Watkins) prepare for their last night of college partying, an unwelcome surprise awaits them both at home. They approach their porch and notice the door is already open. Inside is a half-naked and drunk white girl who is totally incapacitated. Kunle wants to call the cops and Sean implores him to remember they are Black men and this looks bad. Ultimately, they decide to put the partying on hold and drive her to the hospital. She finally wakes up in the car and begins attacking them, thinking she has been kidnapped. Once Sean and Kunle realize the girl’s friends are also under the impression she is kidnapped, the pressure is on to clear their names from a crime that doesn’t exist.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr2’); });

Donald Elise Watkins, RJ Cyler, and Sebastian Chacon in Emergency
Emergency lands with an astounding finish. A lot of the film is imperfect, but there is no denying the emotional toll each character goes through at the end. Emergency closes on what might feel like a happy ending. Watkins’ character has learned something new about being Black, and his friendship with Cyler’s Sean is redefined in a positive light. But the brilliance of Williams’ direction is that he tricks one into thinking he forgot this was a movie about race. The final frame of the film is simple yet striking. A young Black man is enjoying the fruits of his labor with a huge smile. Sirens begin to blare — but not for him. It doesn’t matter because Kunle’s face falls in the exact same shot where audiences just saw him smiling. It’s a poignant reminder that the police have been haunting Black America since the beginning of time.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr3’); });

RJ Cyler has been in small indies and budding multi-million dollar franchises. In Emergency, he is extremely charismatic and gets to play a nuanced character who is truly holding all of his cards close to his chest until the end of the film. On the other hand, Donald Elise Watkins is playing the naive nerd that is not set up to be likable. Unfortunately for audiences, the film is simply better when Cyler is the focus. In scenes where Cyler is passionately trying to get Watkins to tap into the scarier sides of his Blackness, the film falters. While Watkins is not on the same level as Cyler, it’s the script that fails them both in this regard.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr4’); });

Sabrina Carpenter in Emergency
Emergency is based on Williams and Dávila’s 2018 short of the same name and the feature feels like a homegrown indie in a good way. However, the dramatic parts of the film feel stretched out at times. The central conflict between the leads is how to define Blackness. As the film takes place in one night, it feels unbelievable that anyone would rethink their racial identity in hours. Furthermore, one can only stand to watch Watkins and Cyler argue so many times without it feeling repetitive. There is plenty of meat on the bone of the film, but ironically, it is not always dramatic. Emergency has jokes but never lives in them long enough. The film is not long and it has less than ten speaking parts, yet the script insists on rehashing arguments already done in lieu of comedic scenes, or even just scenes about the young men being college students.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr5’); });

If one’s takeaway from Emergency is that it succeeds in delving into Black people’s relationships with white people and the police, that checks out. If viewers think Emergency is overwrought and jams in a lot of ideas about progress, that makes sense, too. Either way, the film starts off hot and ends with a pitch-perfect finish, but one’s patience about everything in between may vary. It’s not so much that Emergency has its ups and downs, it’s more so that the two leads are given the same task through different lenses, and that dynamic is not sustainable over the course of a feature-length film.
Emergency is in select theaters May 20 and is streaming on Amazon Prime Video May 27. The film is 105 minutes and rated R for pervasive language, drug use, and some sexual references.

Our Rating:
3 out of 5 (Good)

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1550597677810-0’); });

#Emergency #Review #Fruitvale #Station #Meets #Superbad #Tense #Indie

Emergency Review: Fruitvale Station Meets Superbad In This Tense Indie

Donald Elise Watkins, RJ Cyler, and Sebastian Chacon in Emergency

Writer K.D. Dávila (Salvation) almost had something special with the script for Emergency. The film, directed Carey Williams (Cherry Waves), has a solid backbone in RJ Cyler’s performance (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), but when it comes to less established actors like Donald Elise Watkins (The Free State of Jones), the tone of the film becomes imbalanced. As a dark college comedy with racial themes, Emergency would have soared. But as a film mostly about young Black men dealing with race, it is not necessarily special. That being said, the film is very funny at points and, critically, the dramatic elements of the story begin to coalesce by the end.
SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
When Sean (Cyler) and Kunle (Watkins) prepare for their last night of college partying, an unwelcome surprise awaits them both at home. They approach their porch and notice the door is already open. Inside is a half-naked and drunk white girl who is totally incapacitated. Kunle wants to call the cops and Sean implores him to remember they are Black men and this looks bad. Ultimately, they decide to put the partying on hold and drive her to the hospital. She finally wakes up in the car and begins attacking them, thinking she has been kidnapped. Once Sean and Kunle realize the girl’s friends are also under the impression she is kidnapped, the pressure is on to clear their names from a crime that doesn’t exist.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr2’); });

Donald Elise Watkins, RJ Cyler, and Sebastian Chacon in Emergency
Emergency lands with an astounding finish. A lot of the film is imperfect, but there is no denying the emotional toll each character goes through at the end. Emergency closes on what might feel like a happy ending. Watkins’ character has learned something new about being Black, and his friendship with Cyler’s Sean is redefined in a positive light. But the brilliance of Williams’ direction is that he tricks one into thinking he forgot this was a movie about race. The final frame of the film is simple yet striking. A young Black man is enjoying the fruits of his labor with a huge smile. Sirens begin to blare — but not for him. It doesn’t matter because Kunle’s face falls in the exact same shot where audiences just saw him smiling. It’s a poignant reminder that the police have been haunting Black America since the beginning of time.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr3’); });

RJ Cyler has been in small indies and budding multi-million dollar franchises. In Emergency, he is extremely charismatic and gets to play a nuanced character who is truly holding all of his cards close to his chest until the end of the film. On the other hand, Donald Elise Watkins is playing the naive nerd that is not set up to be likable. Unfortunately for audiences, the film is simply better when Cyler is the focus. In scenes where Cyler is passionately trying to get Watkins to tap into the scarier sides of his Blackness, the film falters. While Watkins is not on the same level as Cyler, it’s the script that fails them both in this regard.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr4’); });

Sabrina Carpenter in Emergency
Emergency is based on Williams and Dávila’s 2018 short of the same name and the feature feels like a homegrown indie in a good way. However, the dramatic parts of the film feel stretched out at times. The central conflict between the leads is how to define Blackness. As the film takes place in one night, it feels unbelievable that anyone would rethink their racial identity in hours. Furthermore, one can only stand to watch Watkins and Cyler argue so many times without it feeling repetitive. There is plenty of meat on the bone of the film, but ironically, it is not always dramatic. Emergency has jokes but never lives in them long enough. The film is not long and it has less than ten speaking parts, yet the script insists on rehashing arguments already done in lieu of comedic scenes, or even just scenes about the young men being college students.

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1535570269372-ccr5’); });

If one’s takeaway from Emergency is that it succeeds in delving into Black people’s relationships with white people and the police, that checks out. If viewers think Emergency is overwrought and jams in a lot of ideas about progress, that makes sense, too. Either way, the film starts off hot and ends with a pitch-perfect finish, but one’s patience about everything in between may vary. It’s not so much that Emergency has its ups and downs, it’s more so that the two leads are given the same task through different lenses, and that dynamic is not sustainable over the course of a feature-length film.
Emergency is in select theaters May 20 and is streaming on Amazon Prime Video May 27. The film is 105 minutes and rated R for pervasive language, drug use, and some sexual references.

Our Rating:
3 out of 5 (Good)

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1550597677810-0’); });

#Emergency #Review #Fruitvale #Station #Meets #Superbad #Tense #Indie


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