Amazon Studios’ new film Emergency is one that looks to be a dark comedy with satirical elements that also wants to make a statement.
The film revolves around Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and his best friend, Sean (RJ Cyler), two college seniors about to go out for Spring Break parties. But when their roommate Carlos (Sebastian Chacon) leaves the door open, they discover a drunk white girl who they don’t know on the floor and don’t know what to do about her. Sean reiterates the fact that if they go to the cops, especially as two Black men and one Latinx man, that things could go terribly wrong. They put the girl, Emma (Maddie Nichols) in their van and drive to get her help, but little do they know her sister Maddy (Sabrina Carpenter) is hot on their tracks after not realizing Emma left the party.
Shadow and Act spoke with Watkins, Cyler and Chacon about the film and the real experiences it incorporates.
“It’s a refreshing tone of something that has been visited before,” said Cyler on the project. “But it’s been visited with the sense of like choosing a side. When I was reading the script, I’m like, ‘OK cool…so the writer of this actually took their time to balance it out rather than just give a movie that would grasp at the emotion[al] parts like some of these movies and things of that nature. I feel like this movie gives so many different perspectives [and] avenues…we’re showing you that it’s so many sides that are actually here [and] it’s not just a right or wrong. It’s like an adjustment of perspective. That’s what made me want to be a part of it.”
Watkins says that the journey that his character Kunle goes on throughout the film is a “heartbreaking” and “necessary one.”
“I feel like every person of color has that one moment that you realize that you are a person of color and you are not the majority,” he told us. “It’s interesting because most of the people I know, it happened really early on in life [and for] Kunle, he’s a grown man. And now he is going through this thing, and he just wants to do the right thing. He’s been told all his life, ‘Hey, if you put your head down, you work hard, you’ll get to wherever you want to go. Don’t worry about it. You didn’t do anything wrong. We did nothing wrong…because they’re here to help us there.’ No, that would never happen. And then you have this loss of innocence ad it’s really, really heartbreaking to watch. But now, he’s a stronger person on the other side and I’m really interested to kind of know like, ‘OK, what’s next for him? How do you view the world now? What do you do now, knowing that this has happened to you, but still having all of the intellect and everything else that you have cultivated, you’re still a person of persistence, but now you also have this understanding. Maybe in the second [film]!”
Watch the full interview below:
Emergency is in limited theaters now and will drop May 27 on Prime Video.