SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! F^¢k ‘Em R!ght B@¢k is the story of an aspiring rapper who has a shitty boss. Sammy (Emmanuel ‘DDm’ Williams) wants to go on tour, but his boss at his day job, Sheila (Catherine Curtain), has decided to randomly drug test him. Unfortunately, Sammy accidentally ate an edible, rendering him unemployed and incapable of funding said tour. With his job and potential career on the line, Sammy and his friend Yolanda (Kara Young) decide that the best way to get back at a company trying to f**k them is to f**k them right back.
Before watching writer-director Harris Doran’s short, I had zero expectations because a film with this title can be about anything. What I got was something so strange and ridiculous that it is surprisingly captivating. There is something so alluring about Williams that it becomes impossible to avert your eyes from the screen as the actor gives the audience every ounce of himself. Williams has incredible comedic timing, meaning viewers constantly are laughing out loud and appreciating every second. He’s a brilliant performer that knows just how to reach the audience.
“…Sammy accidentally ate an edible, rendering him unemployed and incapable of funding said tour.”
F^¢k ‘Em R!ght B@¢k is a story about drug testing and the issues that it causes so many. I’ve heard arguments about random drug testing from Amazon employees to professional athletes, and I’m numb to it at this point. However, Doran alters the narrative and manipulates this common occurrence into something funny, comical, and relatable for all. I’ve never been randomly drug tested, so this scenario isn’t one that I am personally familiar with, and I’d venture to guess that there are many others in the same boat as me. All that to say that there are potentially several audience members who won’t understand the narrative entirely. That potential disconnect isn’t lost on Doran or the actors as, from the opening moments, the cast and crew do all they can to break down the process in a way that makes sense but also use it to generate humor.
As previously mentioned, Sammy is an aspiring rapper, and there are moments that feel like legitimate music videos, not just musical moments in a narrative. These scenes find enormous success for two reasons: Williams and the camera work. I’ve already discussed all that the actor brings to the table: vigor, passion, comedy, and a boatload of other things. But capturing him in the correct fashion is just as important. Cinematographer Tyler Davis captures his emotion and allows Williams to completely fill the frame, making the entirety of certain scenes about him. These inviting, eventful, energetic scenes are full of life and, when paired with the beautiful comedy, edges the film toward ultimate success.
The comedy, heart, passion, precision, and uniqueness present in F^¢k ‘Em R!ght B@¢k creates a seemingly magical film about the ridiculousness of life. As I mentioned, I had no idea what to expect going in, but the film is brilliant. The combination of Williams, the cinematography, and the cleverness of Doran’s script ensures that you’ll be laughing start to finish.
F^¢k ‘Em R!ght B@¢k screened at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
"…you'll be laughing start to finish."