Same town, different atmosphere: Residue Review

Rachel Narjes, Print staff

Residue was released on Netflix on  Sept. 17, 2020. This drama film, based on a true story, revolves around Jay (portrayed by Obinna Nwachukwu), who is a screenwriter.  Jay travels back to his hometown in hopes of writing a script based on his childhood. However, when he gets there, it is nothing like how he left it. The once happy neighborhood, represented through multiple flashbacks, is now filled with violence. This violence includes rude neighbors commenting on Jay and his family, fights breaking out between the cops and citizens and gunshots being heard throughout the night.  All these factors and more seem to contribute to the conflicting thoughts of Jay. While this small town undergoes gentrification (the process of improving an area so it appeals to middle class taste), many people are arrested. Love interest, Blue (played by Taline Stewart), struggles to help Jay as he enters an emotional roller coaster as he searches for answers.

Directed by Merawi Gerima, the film is perfectly structured to capture the emotions of Jay in this “unrecognizable neighborhood.” Immediately as the film begins, you can see the progression of confusion and disappointment through the actions and speech of Jay, who is hungry for answers as he searches for his old friend Demitri, who is nowhere to be found. Jay and his family struggle to connect to those around them, causing Jay to become frustrated.

Since Residue has been released it earned 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and 5/10 stars.  Although the film is pretty great, it can be confusing to connect all the dots and figure out what’s happening. I would rate this film a 7 out of 10 stars. It was an emotionally appealing movie that was able to draw me in within the first seven minutes. This film explored themes and ideas that aren’t commonly represented in movies. I would definitely recommend this film.