Cheese Comedy

SXSW Review: ‘Chee$e’

March 12, 2022Ben MK

Whether you call it dough, dinero or cheddar, there's no denying that money makes the world go round. For the lead character in Damian Marcano's Chee$e, however, the almighty dollar isn't just something he's hustling 24-7 to amass — it represents an opportunity for a better future, not to mention the means by which he can finally escape the small Caribbean island that he calls home. But as his greed gets the better of him and he begins to find himself in over his head, will it also prove to be his downfall?

As someone who never knew his biological father and who has never left his hometown of Turtle Village, Skimma (Akil Gerard Williams) was raised by his Uncle Joe and has always wondered what life was like just beyond the horizon. Unfortunately, for men like him, it just doesn't seem like fate has anything in store but a lifetime of unfulfilled dreams. Then, one day, Skimma stumbles upon something that seems quite fortuitous indeed. The protege of a master cheesemaker, he discovers that when he embeds the marijuana from the plantation of his neighbor Osiris (Lou Lyons) into blocks of cheese, the result is one of the most potent strains of weed the island has ever seen. However, when Skimma and his loyal friend Peter (Julio Prince) team up with a drug runner named Parrot (Trevison Pantin), they quickly realize that their success may not be all it's cracked up to be.

Throw in a rogue police sergeant named Leon (Kevin Ash), who appears to have it out for Skimma, and a local girl named Rebecca (Yida Leonard), who claims that she's pregnant with Skimma baby, and you can bet that there's almost never a dull moment. Make no mistake, though, for there's more to Chee$e than meets the eye. One part surreal stoner fantasy, one part serious drama, this is a tale of one man's ambition to become more than what others perceive him to be. And in the end, isn't that what we're all striving for?

Chee$e screens under the Visions section at the 2022 South by Southwest Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 45 min.

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