Directed by: Wavey
Written by: Wavey
Starring: Dame Byrd Jr. and Micaiah Jones
Reviewed by: Miles Monroe II
Within this 20 minute film, we take a look at the consequences of alcoholism within young African American men that we might not have realized exists. Wavey, the director of the film, takes the audience into his world to understand our vices and how African American males find ways to cope with certain trauma.
As the film starts, the audience is greeted with various images that are relayed to us as messages within the subconscious of the brains of black males in America. There is one image that includes a woman that seems to stab Him (Byrd Jr.) in the chest, which draws in the interest of the audience. There were many subliminal messages hidden throughout the project that create a Jordan Peele–esque vibe around the film. Next, we see him standing by train tracks, trading a sobriety keychain for a red bandana. This was very telling, as it could mean something towards gang affiliation or as a blindfold to block the progress undone to indulge in certain vices. At this point, there is a sense that Him has some demons he is fighting, and the struggle is most certainly real. From a screenwriting perspective, there was less at the beginning, but it picked up around the most important parts of the film. Wavey takes the approach of "less is more" as the entire film was speaking to the audience even when the characters said very little. His influences really stand out in his short film, one of whom could be Spike Lee. Some of his angles were reminiscent of Spike, specifically, the scene after Him had bought a small bottle of liquor and began traveling through the city. The fact that Him was able to pick a specific brand of liquor from the corner store without saying a single word to the cashier, is a sign that he does this very often. The one thing that seemed out of place for Him was going to church and seeking refuge.
This scenario is scary for a lot of people because some aren’t fond of religion or don’t see the good that could come from believing in a higher power. We are all walking with Him as he embraces the empty church and confesses his desires and all that has gone wrong in his life. The mise-en-scene is very contradictory, with the church atmosphere, drinking and cursing in the church while searching for answers for his life. This is where the conversation gets heavy as Stranger approaches Him about his willingness to come into the church in search for the reasons as to why life hasn’t gone his way. Stranger gives the sound advice any young black male should want to hear but dismiss for their personal reasons. Being young and black in America, we are resistant because certain ideas don’t make sense to us. He acts almost as a father figure or something close to it, encouraging Him to seek forgiveness.
These were some of the most powerful moments of the film. Liquor For Water is a film that is highly entertaining with a deep message everyone can relate to. The feeling of not accomplishing goals and seeking company from unlikely places; Those vices can create a monster that is hard to control when at full strength. We get great performances from Dame Byrd Jr. and Micaiah Jones and a cameo from the director himself in the film. With a conscious undertone, there was some suspense in the film that comes towards the end- which will leave you in awe.