Producer and director Jeremy Whittaker has interwoven two locations and cultural strands of his own background – Canada and Jamaica – to create his debut film Destiny, and it is in his own words “a labour of love”.
Shot on some fabulous locations which will surely boost Jamaican and Canadian tourism, it’s in sharp contrast to the gangster themed films usually associated with the West Indies and certainly inspired me into thinking about a visit. You could say Destiny is a real destination movie.
The film begins with Lisa Pullen, played by Karian Sang, bereft after the death of both her parents but finding the strength to break up with her cheating boyfriend (even her best friend isn’t above betraying her with him). Her journey becomes both metaphorical and literal as she makes a trip to Jamaica to sell land she has inherited.
As Lisa meets up with her dual heritage family, Aunt Janet played by Kertsin Whittaker and her daughter Mystic (Sabrina Diana Colie) the cracks in paradise begin to appear. Universal themes emerge: mother and daughter are at loggerheads mainly about Mystic giving up on her education for her boyfriend. This was a weakness in the plot as the boyfriend was a qualified airline pilot who genuinely loved her. Another bone of contention was the mysterious disappearance of Mystic’s father.
Lisa discovers truths about her family’s past she’d never have anticipated, and not all of them are good. However she also finds herself falling in love with both her birthplace and a new man.
Themes of heartbreak, loss, deception and, ultimately, love make this the type of film which will resonate with most cinema-goers and this is a good Friday night viewing film. James Whittaker exposes and challenges some of the clichés, stereotypes and caricatures associated with West-Indian culture to reveal some characters worthy of note.
It is apparent that the two lead characters, Christopher Martin (Sean) and Karian Sang are more accomplished as singers rather than actors but the music compensates a little for this.
For me two performances stand out: those of Sabrina Diana Colie who plays Mystic, Lisa’s cousin, and Grace Hamilton who raises the role of Candy into an art form. Sabrina seems to be one of the few experienced actors in the film and it shows. Her performance is understated and professional. Grace Hamilton is a dancehall star, but her outrageously comic performance is masterful and perfectly timed.
Destiny may not be the most original of films but it portrays Jamaican culture and music to its advantage.
Showing in August – for more info visit www.destinyfeaturefilm.com/