It’s Sam and I just finished a screening of DRIVING WHILE BLACK directed by Paul Sapiano.
DRIVING WHILE BLACK(DWB) is a dark comedy that examines the relationship between black men who drive and American policing in the streets of South Central Los Angeles. The movie is based on the real-life experiences of one of the writers and star of the film, Dominique Purdy a.ka. Koreatown Oddity.
If you are not familiar with the term, “Driving While Black” here is the definition according to Urban Dictionary.com…
At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to 24-year-old Demetri Johnson (Dominique Purdy a.k.a. Koreatown Oddity).
Demetri is one of those right-brained creative types we all know in our personal lives. He is a struggling artist, working a low wage job and loves to smoke weed. During the film, he even says that one line you hear all artists say when confronted about getting a job, “So what I’m supposed to do something I don’t like and be miserable?” Hey, I told you that this person exists in your real life. Hopefully, they are not living on your couch, in your garage or basement.
Because of his prodding girlfriend, Demetri is in pursuit of dropping his gig as a pizza delivery guy to become a Hollywood Tour Guide. Ummm, I’m not for sure if this job is truly an upgrade, but according to this film, you could earn mad tips depending on your personality. In the duration of the film, the audience is shown the struggles that Demetri endures trying to get to the Hollywood Tour Guide job interview because of his encounters with the police. Does Demetri ever get to this job interview? Does he ever get the job? You’ll have to watch to find out.
I enjoyed this movie. I give a nodding head of approval to the scriptwriters Paul Sapiano and Dominique Purdy for what I perceived as careful thought placed within the script. The audience is given a clear definition that timelines Demetri’s ‘Fuck the Police” attitude. The perspectives of the police were not all white males. Therefore, the actions of the police were not all derivatives based on race; some were based on the abuse of power. Paradoxical realities of racial profiling were discussed from a few objectives. Also, the unique position of Filipino Officer Borty-Lio offers a unique lens not only as female on the police force but also as a woman in an interracial relationship with a black male.
Shout out to cinematographer Bryant Jansen. For a low budget film, I thought the cinematography was pretty dope.
I liked the split screens used to add texture to the film as it transitioned between scenes. I loved looking at mural on the wall where Demetri and Debricshaw got pulled over. And the incorporation of social media on the screen was relatable to the majority our society that cannot live without a cell phone.
On the flip side, the foundation of this film felt a bit prolonged before getting to the actual hook as I did find myself asking, “Where is this story going?” If you are a reader, the execution of this story is comparable to the likes of Gone Girl, The Girl on a Train, The Woman in the Window, etc. As the reader or in this case the viewer, you are being handed carefully executed pieces of a puzzle, but you really have to wait almost until the end, before receiving clarity of the overall big picture and have the “OHHHHH!” moment.
For that reason, I do not recommend this film as a big screen ticket grabber, because it has more of a Netflix and chill type of vibe. Never-the-less, if you are down to see a movie that is a great conversation piece that reflects interactions between African-American males and the police, then definitely check this one out. DRIVING WHILE BLACK is immersed in sarcasm and humor, while illustrates elements that are relatable to the DWB experience.
All that being said, until next time….