Emergency (2022) Review
This phenomenal new film from Carey Williams might well end up as one of the best releases of the year...
Every now and then a film comes out that feels properly fresh, properly unexpected, adding something different to an increasingly predictable cinematic landscape - and Emergency is undoubtedly one of these films. Williams’ unique vision shines through from the very first scene, and a sharp script from K.D. Dávila is brilliantly executed by every member of the cast. Simply put, this is a must-watch when it comes out later this month.
Emergency follows Sean (RJ Cyler) and Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) as their plan to head on a legendary party crawl is thrown into disarray when a mysterious girl ends up passed out on their living room floor. Concerned that a racist police force might pin the blame on them, they concoct a plan to drop the girl off at a hospital - and what follows is a tense yet hilarious story filled with car crashes, toxic frat bros, and a truly hectic cat-and-mouse adventure.
The jokes consistently land, and the reflective moments hit home with full force
Both Cyler and Watkins deserve extensive credit for their astounding performances; the former as the carefree, smooth-talking Sean, and the latter as the uptight, by-the-books Kunle. The pair instantly establish a believable, contagious chemistry that hooks the audience in - you can feel the history of their friendship from minute one, and that’s testament to the effortless displays from both men.
Their comedic timing is remarkable, with Cyler in particular delivering several genuinely laugh-out-loud moments with his playful display, yet it is their dramatic chops that really leave a mark, with the duo grappling with the impact of institutional racism and intolerance within society with a gripping intensity. One scene, where Watkins breaks the fourth wall as the toll of this chaotic night on Kunye is shown in full, sticks long in the memory.
A story such as this, one that toes the line so carefully between drama and comedy, requires impressive talent behind the camera - and Williams steps up to the mark. There is a real confidence to the storytelling here, with Dávila’s witty and introspective script brought to life in a beautifully moving manner. The jokes consistently land, and the reflective moments hit home with full force. It is an absolute triumph from the pair, one that has surely established them as ones to watch going forward.
With a sharp, thought-provoking script, self-assured direction, and sensational performances from the entire cast, it is as compelling as it is entertaining
What prevents Emergency from becoming a flawless film, however, is its pacing. At 1h45, this is arguably a tad too long, with certain scenes in the second act feeling needlessly dragged out. Had it been a tight 90 minutes, it would have been perfect.
Nonetheless, this is one of Amazon’s boldest releases in a long time - with a sharp, thought-provoking script, self-assured direction, and sensational performances from the entire cast, it is as compelling as it is entertaining. Watch it as soon as possible.
Emergency is available to watch in cinemas from 20 May 2022 and on Amazon Prime Video from 27 May 2022