We follow Max, played by Sean Bones, as he boards a cruise after his girlfriend (his intended cruisemate) dumps him and the film tracks his journey all the way to Jamaica, where things go wrong. That’s pretty much it. What the film gets right are some beautifully captured moments of emotional angst, though these are almost lost between the languid trawl of characters and locations, all pointing to some deeper meaning, but rarely attaining it.
Bones does nothing (deliberately I’m sure) to engage the audience and there is a tangible void between Max and us, something which the film suffers from as the tumultuous events, and Max’s trials to overcome them, have a dulled impact. Norah Jones is all over the promotion for this one, and she’s very good in the five minutes she’s in the film, but when Max hits the skids in Jamaica, and he is forced to deal with some pretty nasty situations, the film tries a little harder to engage. Carl Bradshaw has a great role as Mystic Man (that’s the name he’s credited with), and he really adds something to the film, he gives it a spark, which is a much needed treat.
But through theft, misfortune and random dangers the film washes over you. A few ideas about loneliness, cultural and social identity are tossed into the air but never land anywhere. As a central character Max seems singularly uninspired throughout, and the danger and beauty of what he sees flows right through him, and there is the feeling that he’ll wake up the morning after exactly as he was before. Maybe that’s the point, who knows?
Similar to sitting next to a teenager showing his girlfriend pictures he took of a holiday on his mobile phone, Wah Do Dem has some nice moments to it, and the film’s writing and directing team are to be commended for making something which culminates in a well shot, if empty, film.
The film is out in a limited theatrical release today and comes to DVD on the 25th of October.
Here’s the trailer which gives you a flavour of what to expect. Nice soundtrack too.