Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
Two Distant Strangers – Nefflix Originals
4 out of 4 palm trees
In “Two Distant Strangers”, which won this year’s Oscar for Film Short, a young black man wakes up after an evening with a girl in her apartment to find himself stuck in a time loop, causing him to have a deadly run in with a white police officer over and over again regardless of his actions.
Carter (Joey Badass) felt he had one of the best nights in his life after waking up with Perri (Zaria) in her apartment. Wanting to get home to take care of his dog, he came out of the building and accidentally bumped into a man causing him to spill his coffee on his shirt. Carter apologized and offered to buy a new coffee, but the guy just walked away angrily, which caught the attention of Officer Merk (Andrew Howard) standing nearby. Merk approached Carter, who was very cooperative and even apologetic for the incident. Then Merk questioned Carter about his hand rolled cigarette and Carter replied with a bit of a smart-ass remark which seemed to anger Merk, who then grabbed Carter and pushed him up against the wall.
Similar to the incident with George Floyd, Merk had a control hold around Carter’s neck while two other officers attempted to restrain him. A woman who had a street stand and saw the whole thing continued to say that Carter didn’t do anything as she filmed the event with her phone. Merk continued the strong hold on Carter’s neck and though Carter said over and over he couldn’t breathe, Merk didn’t release his hold until he realized Carter was dead.
Carter immediately woke up in Perri’s bed, and initially thought it may have just been a bad dream until he started seeing and hearing the exact things that had taken place the day before. He decided when he walked out he would be careful to avoid the guy with the coffee and to also hide a large amount of cash that Merk found suspicious on their first encounter, however it didn’t work. Merk attempted to detain Carter, but he broke free and started running down the street and was shot several times and killed by Merk.
The next two times the loop repeated, Carter decided to just leave his belongings in Perri’s apartment and make a run for it, but each time Merk shot and killed him without cause. It seemed Merk pursued Carter and killed him no matter what he did, so Carter decided to just walk out the front door and approach Merk to explain what had been happening.
After having a moment to process it all, Merk told Carter that considering his past was a sign of his future it was a good idea for him to just get out of there, and Carter felt he had finally gotten out of the loop with Merk. Unfortunately, Carter walked into an alley where there was another police incident happening and as two suspects ran past him, the cops mistook Carter for being part of it and shot him.
After 100 times, Carter convinced Merk to give him a ride home and on the drive they both shared a very insightful discussion about their individual situations, and though it seemed fine, Merk mercilessly shot Carter in front of his home. When he woke, Carter told Perri what had been happening and realized that his repeating situation was the only conclusion for a young black man in America, but said that one way or another he was going to get home to his dog. The end credits start with a list of over 60 names (just a few of the many individuals including George Floyd) who had been in similar situations as Carter in real life who lost their lives in senseless lethal acts and misunderstandings with police, asking people to say their names and remember their names.
Runtime: 30 min