Jamaican Movie Surprises In Theatres And Is Worth Watching
What is it to be Jamaican? This is a question that many have asked but few have actually gotten a conventional answer for. Why is that? It is because there are no set conventions on how one can identify with the island. Whether you are an actual son, or daughter, of the soil or born into a family that retains its traditions and culture while settled elsewhere, being considered a Jamaican can take on a level of importance to an individual that most other nationalities simply cannot compete with.
The release of this film “Diary of a Badman” is one clear example of this fervor. This film did not contain one shot of Jamaica nor employed anyone who currently resides on the island yet it was all about the Jamaican experience albeit on a foreign land. “Diary of a Badman” could be looked upon as a triumph for the Diaspora, as the director Diemiruaye Deniran and most of the cast has some connection with the island, making the film feel all the more authentic. “Diary of a Badman” is the story of Simone Williams a female detective with Jamaican roots entrusted with the task of infiltrating a Jamaican gang in order to arrest its leader Winston ‘Bucky’ Bailey. While undercover, Simone began to struggle with her identity and with her feelings for Bucky as time is running out for her to bring him to justice. While it has some flaws, “Diary of a Badman” really was a smooth experience with credible acting takes by Jacinth Sutphin (Simone Williams/Patricia Campbell), Levar Dawkins (Rusty), Michael Thor Love (Sargent Putkowski) and especially Douglas A. Robbs (Winston ‘Bucky’ Bailey) accurately capturing the viewpoints of each group on opposing sides of the law.
What stuck with me from the film was the deconstruction of the American system of incarceration/economic progress explained by Bucky. He displayed a knowledge of history and ideology, in that scene, that showed that even though what he currently doing was wrong, in the eyes of the law, Bucky was only doing what he could to acquire the means to uplift the community around him. What Simone/Patricia serves for him is to be his diary of sorts, expressing to her plans that he wouldn’t dare to speak to his cohorts about as it might cause him to lose face which could be fatal given his chosen line of work. “Diary of a Badman”, possesses the quality to became another Jamaican cult classic along the veins of “Harder They Come”, “Rockers”, “Better Mus Come”, “Shottas” among others, however only time will tell if it manages to carve out its own niche and join the other films in the hearts of Jamaicans both from yard and aboard.