A Storybook Ending

A black man kills a white cop. This is a story that could go one way…you think. But this short film (just over 18 minutes long) by writer/director Lanre Olabisi (Somewhere in the Middle) is filled with plenty of unexpected moments.

Though this is a rather timely subject right now, it does not go about telling the story as one might expect. Wale (Rotimi Paul – The First Purge, Mapplethorpe) is walking along the street and a bump leads to a man on his back and struggle between the two. While defending himself against the unknown assailant, an accidental death happens. Wale realizes to his horror that he has not only killed another, but who he has killed is a white undercover cop (Keith Sgrillo). As a black man he knows what this means, so he flees.

But this story is far from over as two less than savoury types have witnessed it all. More than that, they have recorded it all on a phone. Now they want money from Wale and his partner.

What is a black comedy is also a look at race relations in 2020 and the feelings that black men have towards police officers. That is a lot to unpack in 18 minutes! How black men are seen as criminals/dangerous/all the same by the police. Which means that when a crime is committed any one of them in the wrong place at the wrong time could be thought to be the guilty party. Rather frightening way to live.

Answers are not forwarded here. And not in an irritating way. The film is really a jumping off point for thought and discussion. As dark as it is there is plenty of humour of the social satire variety here. It also is rather unpredictable in that you think it is going one way and then it zags in a totally different direction.

Though this is a story set in the present it really could have occurred anywhere over the last dozen decades or so. Time for change! Well past the time!

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