(director: Carey Williams; screenwriter:KD Davila; cinematographer: Michael Dallatorre; editor: Lam T. Nguyen; music: René G. Boscio; cast: RJ Cyler (Sean), Donald Elise Watkins (Kunle), Sabrina Carpenter (Maddy), Maddie Nichols (Emma), Madison Thompson (Alice), Diego Abraham (Rafael), Sebastian Chacon (Carlos); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Marty Bowen, Isaac Klausner, John Fischer: Amazon Studios; 2022)
“Edgy social commentary comedy thriller.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The drama is adapted from the 2017 short by the Black director Carey Williams (“R#J”), which uses the same title name. It’s written by KD Davila, as it covers “one wild night” on a college campus just before spring break. The edgy social commentary comedy thriller has three minority college friends, at the mostly white fictional Buchanan College. The two Blacks, the studious science student heading to Princeton, Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins), and the party animal Sean (RJ Cyler), and their stoner housemate, the Latino Carlos (Sebastian Chacon).
The story centers around anti-Black racism in America that allows blacks to view the police differently from the way whites do.
The Black students plan to spend their last night on campus, before their vacation, completing a “Legendary” tour, hitting all seven frat parties in one night. However they run into a problem at the house they share with the Mexican-American Carlos, as for some unknown reason they find the 17-year-old high school white girl Emma (Maddie Nichols) unconscious on the sofa. The three want to get help for her, but because of the hostile racial climate in America hesitate about calling the cops. Instead they take her to the hospital in Sean’s broken-down minivan, as she goes in and out of consciousness.
Adding to the complications is her sister Maddy (Sabrina Carpenter), pledging a sorority, who is looking for the missing sister. She accompanied her on campus. She searches with her white friend Alice (Madison Thompson).
The two Black friends –for the benefit of those not Woke–expound on what it’s like being Black in today’s America and how racism is part of the college experience.
When we reach the third act, the Black students show they want to help the girl but are afraid of trouble if they get too involved. The narrative relies on its audience being aware of recent racial news events with the police to get its drift.
Though it delivers its message that Blacks don’t have the same high regard that the whites have for the police protecting them, however the film lost its purpose when we learn the high senior drank spiked punch at a sorority party and the Black students now have an alibi if grilled by the police why the white girl crashed at their place.
REVIEWED ON 1/23/2022 GRADE: B-