This article reveals the explained plot and the detailed events in the Amazon Prime movie Emergency, directed by Carey Williams, revealing its meaning, symbols and storyline. We recommend you to read it only after watching the movie, and not before, in order to preserve the pleasure of the first vision.
Emergency is a 2022 film, produced by Amazon for international distribution on Amazon Prime. It is a film that talks about racism and social contrast from the first to the last frame and the vision causes discomfort as it goes on: the plot develops in such a way that every event goes worse and worse, like a heavy boulder speeding up a downhill. The spectator feels as powerless as the characters themselves, unable to find a resolutive idea and therefore choosing every time winding roads that only make things worse.
The plot of the film is quite straightforward and easy to follow, so there is no need to describe it in detail. Still, there are some hidden meanings within the film that are worth highlighting explicitly. This article will focus on explaining those messages, in the spirit in which he wanted to convey them in film.
Emergency: the explanation of the film and the ending
The entire story described in the film is strongly influenced by the fear that blacks in America have of turning to law enforcement when the are required to explain a suspicious situation. It is a deeply felt theme in the United States, which has repeatedly seen images of aggressive and unwarranted police attitudes towards black people on the news. The film shows a happy ending, with the story being resolved without practical consequences and which would apparently prove the groundlessness of Sean’s fears, which in this case represented the black fear for the police. Yet there is more underneath the apparent plain final.
The message the film wants to convey is that the real world is never completely black or white (to go back to the colour metaphor), but the truth always lies in between. Is it true that if a black person finds himself in a suspicious situation and the police intervene, there is a high probability that he will be shot before being able to give an explanation? No, and the film tries to explain it in many ways: with the statistical reasoning through Kunle’s mouth, and objectively also through the ending, in which the extremely suspicious situation would actually make one think the worst. Yet the police listens, understands and releases Kunle and Carlos without further investigation.
At the same time, is it true that racism and prejudice are therefore not part of American society and the police? Obviously not, and this too is well conveyed in the film: when Alice approaches the van in the forest, she is obviously biased towards the color of Kunle and Sean’s skin, she extracts the sting spray before even letting them talk, and in fact she is the last of the group that starts believing that the boys are telling the truth. And when the police stop the vehicle, Kunle is the only one who is put on the ground, face up against the asphalt, while the other guys are sitting on the sidewalk, explaining the story to the police in a respectful and attentive way.
Kunle in fact comes out traumatized by this experience. The final confrontation he has with Sean shows how Kunle recognizes the truth behind Sean’s fear: American society is truly prejudiced towards black people and for a moment Kunle feared that his entire future was compromised. And the spectator fears that as well, with a reason. The final frame in which the film closes, with fear seizing Kunle’s eyes upon hearing random sirens on the street, is significant.
The whole film therefore plays on the comparison between opposites and on the presence of good and bad in everything it analyzes. Is it a nice gesture that of Alice and Emma, who show up at the door to thank Kunle and Carlos for what they have done? Generally speaking, yes, but Emma’s speech reading the written note is the emblem of the hypocritical attitude of American society, which becomes pompous in celebrating the equality of blacks when it feels guilty for being racist. Is it true that the three boys just wanted to help Emma and had nothing to fear? They actually had something to fear, as they were under the influence of drugs, and what they did may actually represent a failure to duty to rescue.
Everything in this world is more complex than a quick and easy explanation would suggest. And with this awareness, Kunle will go to university and see his career shine. Never forgetting, however, that the real reason why he is doing everything to succeed in life is to obtain recognition from the society, hoping that he will no longer have to be treated as a “simple black man” in the future. Each individual in this world finds the most congenial solution for himself. For Kunle it is his career, for Sean all that remains is to focus on the pride of being black and on the fight for the protection of his rights. And there is no better or worse way in an absolute sense.