By Mr. Will Wong
Carey Williams makes his Feature directorial debut EMERGENCY and Sundance ’22, based on his 2018 Short Film of the same name. We appreciate where Williams is going in making a statement about what it means to be a Black person in America today in the face of the scrutiny they receive from others and law enforcement.
The Film centers on best friends Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and Sean (R.J. Cyler). The former loves to party and vape, while the latter is very driven in his studies, aiming to do his post-grad at Princeton. Their friendship faces a serious test one night as they attend a party together, but an unexpected trip back to their residence has them finding an unconscious intruder Emma (Maddie Nichols) in their home. In a panic what to do in fear of how this might look to the police, they take matters into their own hands. Along the way, her sister Maddy (Sabrina Carpenter) and friends believe she might be in danger and are in pursuit of Kunle and Sean. From here, Kunle and Sean face the consequences of perception and it does a number on them and their friendship.
Writer K.D. Dávila and Williams have their heart in the right place giving us an empathetic look into the world of a young Black person and if you walk away feeling that things truly are messed-up, then the Film effectively has done its job. It is troubling that someone with as bright a future as Watkins‘ Kunle could have their future taken away from them based on a misunderstanding. Cyler in particular is great as the free-spirited Sean, while the talented Carpenter isn’t given enough to work with, in Maddy‘s one-dimensional “Karen“. Tonally, the Film takes a while to figure out what it wants to be, following loosely a Goldilocks prototype, starting as a Teen Adventure Comedy, but ultimately delivering what is a very serious message, and this admittedly threw us for a bit of a loop.
Emergency is set to hit theatres May 20, 2022 and debuts on Prime Video on May 27, 2022.
Screening times at Sundance:
- JANUARY 24, 2022 ONLINE 12:00:00 AM-7:59:00 AM