A very good grade for Sprinter

Oswy Gayle

Thursday, July 25, 2019

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On the evening of Monday, July 8, 2019 I went to see the movie Sprinter and it was worth my time, energy and money. It was simply brilliant!

All over Jamaica we hear cries for justice, see the resilience of the Jamaican people, and partake in their glory — if we are not 'badmind'. Well, Sprinter did all of that.

I left the cinema with a real Jamaican pride; one of those proud moments that is felt usually when track and field is in the air, when Jamaica wins at the Olympics, or Tessanne Chin at The Voice. It was a superb moment for the actors, actresses, Jamaica, the Jamaican culture and, by extension, the Jamaican people.

Sprinter beautifully captures a compelling story of a young Jamaican who is on the road to being the next big track and field superstar. The up-and-coming star, after being convinced of how great he was by his coach, family and classmates, in true Jamaican raw motivational style, got hooked on a particular race with much promise. In his heart, though, he hopes that his athletic prowess would land him in the USA to reunite with his mother, who left for more than ten years, but still supports the family while living as an illegal resident.

The movie then takes us on a roller-coaster ride. It was a jam-packed with courage, will, love, male bonding, scamming, child development, forgiveness, emotions, parenting, and the ebb and flow of life. Simply put, it was a real raw 'blouse and skirt' movie that every Jamaican should see and have a conversation about.

Though the storyline is simple, its themes are complex and left me in an ambivalent state of being happy about the movie but equally sad about the dark side of Jamaica being played out on the big screen.

Though many times segments of the movie was funny, it underscores some serious Jamaican sociological issues that our culture and country sometimes do not want to accept, deal with, or even admit are a problem. For example, the movie was brilliant in showcasing a father who stayed behind to take care of his children, the issues he faced as a male single parent — a theme that is rarely discussed in the Jamaican context. This was a wonderful departure of highlighting the man's view away from the typical single mother syndrome.

The movie got more than a passing grade from me.

Although Spiderman: Far From Home was sold-out movie of the evening, I really think it should have been Sprinter that should be sold out; but then again, democracy rules.

Sprinter is of good quality, exciting to watch, and has very good screenwriting. Any shortcomings in the movie were made up for by its excellent and compelling storyline, which was on par with any top movie with similar themes internationally. Add to that the rich variety of the Jamaican culture that was displayed in terms of architecture, spirituality, music, talent, and a good balance between the Jamaican dialect and Standard English.

I encourage all Jamaicans to go and see the film, make comments online, have conversations about it, and for the Government to support the local film industry in a greater way — especially since the current prime minister was featured. This film is a testament to the fact that if we have the courage to stand and to be creative at the highest level we can do well. It is the vision that our national anthem so aptly speaks to.

We are all sprinters, even at times when we lack a track to run our individual race and darkness is all we see. But, if we have to win by a string that light that is in all of us is sufficient to help us evolve into the people we were meant to be.

So, a very good grade for Sprinter and a very good grade for all Jamaicans.

Oswy Gayle is a lecturer in the School of Business Administration, College of Business and Management, at the University of Technology, Jamaica. Send comments to the Observer or ogayle@utech.edu.jm.


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