“Mudda is sick!!!”
by Travis Carroll
Wednesday 1st December 2010 saw the premiere of The Bahamian/American film Wind Jammers. A quaint story about a young girl that falls in love with sailing and the evil yacht club president trying to foil her attempts…at sailing. The film was shot on location in The Bahamas with minimal scenes shot in Chicago. Writers Ric Von Maur, Elliot Lowenstien & Michael Ray Brown, attempt to tackle racism in the neo colonial Bahamas whilst also trying to rip your heart out with father/daughter problems. To say that his script was flawed is an understatement. Essentially the writers sat down for six weeks and saw every family comedy made in The United States and then set the script in The Bahamas. Yet it is this western ideology of filmmaking that sells tickets and who’s to say that their idea was wrong.
It was a mix bag performance wise. Craig Pinder — a seasoned theatre actor – gave a candid caricature of the white Bahamian: Which means he delivered the funniest lines in the film. Every character’s interaction with Pinder was rewarding for both he and the actor. Justice’s performance lacked substance. Especially considering that she is the lead, one would have expected better. Now, this is not to say that she was horrid because she wasn’t. It was her first role and it wasn’t her fault she was cast as a tragic mullato. Thankfully the supporting cast was fantastic. Cookie Allen, Tony Roberts, Sean Nottage, Moya Thompson and the rest of the cast did a good job of giving that authentic Bahamian feel to a movie that prides itself on One Bahamas. Even the token white boy giving all the black lines was actually funny.
Production wise this film was awesome. The editing, lighting, sound and choice of shots were great. It’s no Scorsese flick but the directors and the production team did what they needed to do. Yeah there were no scenes that paralleled the hegemonic struggle of the black maids/attendants to potcakes but who needs that in a B movie…on with the corny jokes I say!
The script sucked. I mean sucked. Jesus loving Christ. No. No. No. It had a good idea, even good direction, but you can’t turn apples into peaches. You can’t make brackish water into a peaking wine. You can’t turn Martin Lawrence into Sidney Poitier (I’ve seen 6 of his films in the last month, call it obsession). Ric Von Maur, Elliot Lowenstien & Michael Ray Brown wrote a story that highlighted The Bahamas’ less than talked about racism and discrimination. I liked that. I also liked his metaphor of sailing as freedom. I loved his attention to the sea and to the actual paralleling of potcakes to the black servants – seeking identity in the ruins of colonialism and racism. Yet these pockets of ideas are never really expressed to the fullest of detail. Von Maur takes the Hollywood way out by using the cliché of working things out and togetherness that just fudgemicates (it’s not a word) the bejesus outta me.
With that said, Wind Jammers is worth watching if you’re a Bahamian (or not). Just turn your brain off and enjoy all the unique Bahamian clichés that make the movie bearable. It’s not as bad as I make it sound. I’m just a prick that happens to critique everything – it happens when you’re an English major I’m afraid.