Director: Carey Williams
Screenwriter: KD Davila
Starring: RJ Cyler, Donald Elise Watkins, Sebastian Chacon, Sabrina Carpenter, Madison Thompson, Maddi Nichols, Diego Abraham
Cinematographer: Michael Dallatorre
Original Premiere: Sundance Film Festival, January 20, 2022
How to Watch: Select theaters May 20th, Prime Video May 27th
Synopsis: Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and his best friend, Sean (RJ Cyler), are both seniors in college about to embark on an epic night of Spring Break parties. Ready to take the night of mayhem on, they return to their apartment only to discover a drunk, semi-conscious female passed out on the floor (Emma). Kunle wants to call the cops, but Sean vetoes the idea knowing how it will look when the cops show up (two Black men, one Latino man and a passed out White woman).
With the intention of taking the girl to a safe place in lieu of calling the police, they load Emma into a van. Meanwhile, her sister Maddy (Sabrina Carpenter) has realized that Emma is missing and begins to search for her in a drunk panic using Emma’s phone’s location. What results is a chaotic and intense film that captures the dangerous outcome of being at the wrong place at the wrong time… especially when you’re a person of color.
Here are four reasons to watch the gripping and anxiety-inducing Emergency.
1) A Little Stress Never Hurt Anyone…
I won’t lie to you… This movie is stressful! The script appropriately taps into our fears of ‘being in the wrong place at the wrong time’ and maximizes that to the highest degree (especially if you’re Black). That and the lead up to the film’s climax is enough to send anyone into a frenzy. But it’s completely worth it. It’s essential viewing simply because the filmmakers recognize the destruction of weaponizing misunderstandings — especially if you’re a white woman. Let’s just say it’s about time someone made a film like this.
2) I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends!
The depiction of friendship between two young Black men is wonderfully executed in Emergency. Through their differences, Kunle and Sean work their way through a night of uneasiness. They often disagree on how the night should go, but by the film’s end, it’s evident that friendship when you’re young, Black or Brown, and living in America is as important as ever. It’s one of the many reasons why the film works so well.
3) This Puts the Dark in Dark Comedy
Screenwriter KD Davila’s script is hilarious through and through. But there’s no denying that Emergency taps into the dark notions of being Black in America. Sean, for example, clearly understands the consequences of three Brown guys trying to help a young white girl and getting “caught” in the process. How would that look to the police? What conclusions would strangers draw if they witnessed that? These are questions that the film answers with honesty. And unfortunately, the answer isn’t so sweet…
4) A Social Commentary for the Ages
It could very-well be easy to miss the point of Carey Williams’s Emergency if you’re not a Brown person who’s ever been reminded that you’re Brown based on how other people treat you. But at the same time, Williams does a remarkable job of showcasing the consequences of being in a predicament where you’re just trying to help but society would view it another way. There’s a very clear social commentary on display in this film. It’s uncomfortable and disheartening, but it’s necessary considering where we are today.
If you’re looking for an uncomfortably revealing film about the layered dangers of being a person of color in America, this film is for you. Simultaneously, Carey Williams makes it his mission, through his direction & photography, to expose the dangers of fake white allyship while those people also claim to uphold “liberal” and progressive values. And he does so effortlessly… While the film tends to suffer from its tonal imbalances, overall, its importance enables a quick and easy watch. Emergency is available to stream on Prime Video today (May 27, 2022)!
Check out the trailer for Amazon Studios’s Emergency – available to stream on Prime Video now!