"Wah Do Dem" - DVD Review (Factory 25) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"Wah Do Dem" - DVD Review (Factory 25)

Wah Do Dem - DVD Review (Factory 25)According to Roots-Archieve.com, this film's Patois title translates as "What's Wrong With Them". The title seems to be very fitting as the movie is filmed with a mumblecore esthetic and focuses on Brooklyn slacker Max (played by musician Sean Bones) as he haphazardly attempts to connect those in the world around him.

"In WAH DO DEM, young Brooklyn musician Max (Sean Bones) decides to go on a Caribbean cruise alone when his girlfriend Willow (Norah Jones) dumps him cold two days before the trip. Once in Jamaica, Max quickly escapes the tourist zone for more "authentic" surroundings and in the process is robbed of his possessions and is stranded, and literally misses the boat. As Max sets out for the American Embassy in Kingston on foot, Jamaica is waiting to meet him with unexpected and extraordinary encounters, including a full-moon celebration with the legendary reggae group The Congos, and a dreamy stay with a Rasta prophet (Carl Bradshaw, THE HARDER THEY COME)."

The movie starts with Max getting dumped by girlfriend Norah Jones (who makes a briefer appearance than Burt Reynolds did in Smokey & the Bandit 3) on the eve of their cruise to Jamaica. After attempting to commiserate with friends and finding that none of them liked Jones, he then finds that none of them will join him on the cruise. Bones sleepwalks through his solo experiences on the cruise, failing to connect with the senior citizens or the other single male passenger (who makes an aggresive pass at Bones).

When the cruise ship docks in Jamaica, Max attempts to have an "authentic" Jamaican experience by wandering off to a remote beach with a Jamaican local and his girlfriend. Max enjoys the time by sharing his new friends' weed and attempting to learn phases in Patois but he "loses" all of his possessions (passport, wallet, shoes, shirt, etc.) when he leaves his bag with his new friends while going for a swim. His "friends" leave him on the beach and Max makes his way back to the cruise terminal just in time to see his ship already setting sail. Max is then told by the security guard on the dock that his only recourse is to head to the American Embassy in Kingston (which is hours away).

The road movie portion of the movie kicks in as Max (with no money, no shirt and no shoes) attempts to make his way to Kingston. His "sob story" elicits $10 from American tourists and he uses this to get a bus to Kingston. Like all good road movies, the bus breaks-down midway through the trip. Bones wanders off to play soccer with the locals and the bus, once fixed, leaves without him. Bones makes his way through the beautifully filmed landscape of Jamaica on his way to Kingston. He has a brief encounter with the local shaman (Carl Bradshaw), the Jamaican equivalent of Obi Won/Mr. Miyagi, who tries centering Max and getting him attune with the world around him. The final scene involves Max bonding with a young man who attempted to rob him on the road to Kingston and the implication is that Max, now stripped of his hipster pretensions, has finally found his place in the world.

Wah Do Dem