Movie Review: The Visit; A good script well acted by Acheme Ramson

Low budget, one location, four casts only, and yet a great movie. Two young couples living in same quarters appear to lead opposite lifestyle; one family lives an organized and orderly life while the other lives a care-free life.  From the opening scenes we saw a decent looking couple with the ideal home of educated middle class. Though some body language exhibited by the husband makes one suspect there is something fishy. The next act was on another couple looking outlandish and loosed. They appear to live a dirty life, booze, raw sex, weeds and lives in a disorderly fashion. Ajiri (Nse-Nkpe Etim) and Lanre (Blossom Chukwujekwu) were a typical uppity who live their lives as they dim fit. Their loud music, stench of weeds, and uncontrolled sex habit, freaked their ‘decent’ neighbour to an unbearable state. As their rapturous encounter resulted to breaking a window pane of their neighbour, both couples were forced to meet. This visit opened cans of worms that surprised both families.

Dirty secrets pop up each time they try to focus on the apple of discus. The dialogue turned out to be a family confession hour. Every point of discussion always leads to a shocking or dirty revelation. ‘The Visit’ is packed with suspense at every scene; a viewer will ask what next have these guys to reveal? The irony is that the couple who appears dirty was actually better than the saintly-looking guys. Though Lanre and Ajiri lives in a mess, they did not pretend about it, Eugene (Bhaira McNwizu Bayray) and Chidi (Femi Jacobs) lives a false life by pretending everything is perfect.

The drama grows interesting and the viewer gets excited each moment. Whenever the lot falls on a couple to wash their dirty stuff, the other family reconciles and laughs at them. This continues till it became clear Chidi and Eugene the so called decent couple, had the worst secrets. Invariably, whenever it seems both party are making up, something will break the bubbles and another round of tantrums unfolds.

Biodun Stephen who is the screenplay writer and storywriter is certainly familiar with the life of young middle class; their language, dressing, choice of cars, furniture and habits were properly depicted through the quadric thespians. One can safely conclude that Nigerian screenwriters have come of age. With a movie like ‘the Visit’ the bar has been raised. Local writers and film makers are now compelled to buckle up or face the strict scrutiny of critics.

The main texts of the movie are the repercussion of telling lies to ones’ spouse and living a fake life. Eugene thought living like western middle class is living a perfect life, she was wrong. Her faked life was to her own detriment. Her entire lifestyle is scheduled, food, sex, job, and even child bearing. Besides Eugene was a bad cook claiming to be trained in cosmopolitan cuisine, her food was disaster, she was not romantic and engages in boring sex she termed ‘civilized’ copulation. Her young husband Chidi played along with her by making it look like it is the kind of life he wanted too, but he couldn’t change his African nature. Chidi does not enjoy his wife’s cosmopolitan dishes, does not enjoy sex with her and above all, she was too boring. In return, Chidi went to Ada, his secretary for meals and comfort which culminated in them having children- twins!

Movie Rewiew: Queen of Katwe; From Slum to Spotlight by Acheme Ramson

A fourteen year old girl named Fiona brought a previously unknown Ugandan town called Katwe into a notable map in the world. A Country known for its former dictators Idi Amin and Milton Obote is now viewed in a new light from one very brilliant act of little girl raised in the slum of Uganda. The Movie, Queen of Katwe, based on true life story, tells the story of a girl with her struggling mother and siblings in a poor neighborhood. They had no father, feed from stale garbage-like food and could not afford western education. Fiona left with only her instinct and inquisitive mind soon discover a new sport, chess. Initially it was an escape route for her and her brother to socialize and have a free cup of porridge from the philanthropic and humanitarian coach Robert Katenda. Then the show became a light of hope for them as they start seeing prospect in the game of chess.

A violent-free movie takes great skill to catch a viewer’s attention at the opening scenes. The directors of Queen of Katwe,   are no doubt experienced film makers who can turn an ordinary situation into entertainment and create an empathic mood in a viewer’s mind. The story of an ordinary girl in Uganda called Fiona may appear on millions of screens it serves as tools for many causes. It serves as entertainment to many; and serves as an inspirational medium for many youths across sub-Sahara Africa; it is a campaign tool for the various movements advocating for the girl-child right across the globe and a good enlightenment film for a sport which is not so popular among developing nations.

The collaboration of the world famous Disney productions and ESPN Film did not only bring together good actors but also sent a message across black Africa to the destitute that there is hope, the sub-text of the movie could be said in the acclaimed aphorism “Yes, you can” to the African youths.

The movie directors narrowly escaped being bombarded by critics when they carefully clear some controversial racial issues through camera shots and movements. The ghetto scene where the scum live and breed was made a foreground of the affluent town as camera shots caught looming sky scrapers at the background. These clever shots saved the producers and film makers from African advocates who would say the entire movie portrayal of Africa is nothing but slums and malnourished people. In a subtle form, the producers of Queen of Katwe made a deliberate effort to attract attention away from the world acclaimed sport, Soccer, which has attain global cult followership, to a game enjoyed by a few. They achieved this by showing kids who fear they would sustain injury from playing football, and diverting their interest to a more noble sport which is not only safer but also present a promising future for them. Coach Robert Katenda’s football injury and the littluns’ fear of breaking bones, coupled with the coach’s rhetoric won the children to chess game.

The film makers also did not hesitate to remind the young viewers that, success, no matter the sports you play, demands had work and discipline. We were reminded that no victory comes cheap. Fiona was naturally gifted yet she had to work on her skill late at night and whenever the opportunity presents itself. In fact, chess became her mantra. In her state of penury Fiona and her brother made them an improvised chess board where they practice at home.  This frantic effort yield huge success by taking Fiona from a stinking Uganda slum to other country flying in airplane.

Queen of katwe

The Nigerian born David Oyelowo and the top model Lupita Nyong’o’s efforts was complimented by the bright teenage actress Madina Nalwanga. Camera shots and angles in the movie clearly reveals the professional prowess of the technical crew as they captured scenes of Lupita Nyong’o seating with her wares at the edge of  the beautiful lake Victoria. It looked like something done by a master painter. The area view shots and the topography added colour to the poor setting of Katwe. The originality and style of Queen of Katwe is one that many movie directors and film makers, especially in Nigeria, will soon start imitating.

It is observed that media effect from that movie has start having impact on the Uganda suburbs as U.S. rapper French Montana shot one of his latest music video in Uganda. We should expect many more of such soon, as lots of humanitarians will now chose Uganda for their pet projects. Believe me, the media effect is real.