Sunday, 15 November 2015

Ghanaian Movie Review: Nana Means King 2015 *The Opening Chapter*

GhMovieFreak is here to stay..

It’s safe for me to say… the Ghanaian Movie industry is on the rise… things have changed… mediocrity is no longer the status quo. The revolution has started!!

Those were exactly my thoughts after watching Nana Means King, which tells the story of Nana Kwame, a betrayed Ghanaian working illegally in the UK who finds himself on a quest, not only to survive, but to re-envision a life beyond his own shattered dreams.

Although this plot, on the surface, seems quite similar to that of Afua’s Diary (Our last review) it is entirely different. This Nana Obiri Yeboah (Known for directing The Cursed Ones) directed story highlights the psychological battles and challenging situations that black illegal immigrants face. Of course this is certainly something any Ghanaian can relate to in one way or the other. The fact that a story of this nature is well told in a movie as good as this should not go unappreciated.

It would suffice to describe the Directors/Makers approach to telling this particular story as a carefully illustrated psychological drama. It would also be fair to say that the Ghanaian audience is generally not used to an approach like this. But then, I believe the Ghanaian movie scene could really use some more movies like this. It’s hard not to acknowledge the clarity of how the story seeks to address some of the psychological issues that illegal immigrants face.

Right from the start, you sense that the movie is slow paced and laid back with the story line carefully unfolding. Regardless, it is intriguing and intense enough to keep you at the edge of your seat as the story progresses.

Prince David Osei was cast for the lead role.  And top of my head, I can’t think of anyone who could have done a better job at playing the character of Nana Kwame. He gave a classic PDO performance and was spot on in his delivery of his role.  I am most happy that, in a typical UK setting he did not try to force a British accent. The performance from supporting lead, Richard Armah who plays the role of Chris Kuma cannot go unmentioned. Although a new face, his interpretation of is character was natural and very impressive as well. I would love to see more from him.

I also liked that this movie did not take advantage of popular sites or scenery from the UK, so it becomes easy for the viewer to look beyond the fact that it was set, shot and produced in London. The cinematography was also different and added to the intense vibe that the movie exudes from start to finish.

Overall, the production wasn’t flawless, there were several scenes where the quality of sound sort of fluctuates and makes it difficult to follow the dialogue. Of course we would expect better than that from a London based production house.

I also did not like that some of the dialogues also seemed quite boring, obviously because of the slow pace of the movie. But that did not in any way affect the quality of this movie. It would be easy for anyone who isn’t paying attention to the actual story being told to argue that that this movie is boring. But no, this is a great movie, it is deeper than it seems.

The story line as it is in this defining chapter does leave holes in the plot of the movie. But we can only hope that the next installments do well to patch up these holes.

Its 75mins run-time, although short, is certainly worth it. Chapter one of Nana Means King does lay the foundation for a great story and its climax, sets you up to expect and anticipate more from the next sequel of this trilogy. (Yes, be expecting two more chapters)

That is why GhMoviefreak would like to score this movie 6.5 /10.

This movie is good and does throw a challenge to other production companies ready to join the revolution taking place on the Ghanaian Movie scene.  It was definitely worth the time and the wait. 

GhMoviefreak strongly recommends that anyone who supports the growth of the Ghanaian film industry must do well to go watch this movie.