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Not a True "Feel-Good" Movie
on May 4, 2008
For those who like Jamaican reggae-inspired films like "Rockers" or "Dancehall Queen," this film will prove somewhat disappointing. The unsuspecting buyer is meant to think that this movie is a positive, romantic courtship story between Kymani Marley and Cherine Anderson. And although Marley and Anderson work hard to breathe life into this movie, the screenplay seems incomplete, and does not inspire feelings of love.
First of all, the plot is too predictable. The film borrows elements from "Romeo and Juliet," but this part of the film is presented in a largely hurried and contrived manner: Kymani's friends disapprove of Cherine, and Cherine's church congregation disapproves of Kymani, as if they're all being cued to do so, but the charatcters are not developed well enough to enable the viewer to empathize with their feelings. They just appear to dislike each other because they're "supposed to."
The so-called "Rasta lifestyle" depicted in the film isn't very believable, and the music seems mostly incidental. Unlike "The Harder They Come" and "Rockers," the reggae songs in this film are very flat and are not particularly cogent, despite the abundance of stereotype "rastafarian fashions" worn by Kymani's band members.
On a positive note, the camera shots are very beautiful and full of color. Cherine Anderson is very pretty, and her wardrobe is well crafted. The film presents a lush and positive image of Jamaica that is devoid of the dusty, shantytown ghetto images that plague other Jamaican films, such as "Third World Cop" and "Shottas."
Overall, this film's image is very positive, but the plot will leave you feeling more cheated than uplifted - it's kind of like the formulaic "Drumline," as compared to the classic "School Daze." You never truly feel the love connection between Kymani and Cherine's characters, and throughout the storyline, you never really grow to dislike the so-called "villains" of the film -- most notably the church keyboardist (played by Idris Elba) who is within one month of marrying Cherine's character, and struggles to stop Kymani from stealing her and ruining his wedding dreams. You will feel more depressed by the tragic fall of Idris' character than you will feel energized by the eventual romance between Kymani and Cherine.
In a nutshell, this film is another black-entertainment trojan horse. If you can see this film for free, or for a greatly reduced price, then go for it, but don't pay more than $5 for the DVD. You will feel like you've been bamboozled.