African Movie Reviews

 


Somewhere in Africa

16
Posted June 3, 2012 by in Thriller
somewhere in africa

Rating

Story
65%


Originality
05%


Predictability
10%


Directing/Production
45%


Acting
55%


Music
80%


Total Score
43%

43/ 100

NR Review

Genre:
 
Director:
 
 
Screnplay:
 
Year:
 
Synopsis: In a town where blood thirsty Militants subject the government to coup d'tat, life is unpredictable. It's difficult to know when you will wake up to a brilliant morning sun which promises a day of solemnity, or a shimmering moon in which echoes the shouts of death. In the wake of the seemingly normalcy of a capricious life, a new regime is established in Kimbala town; the superlative Military regime of Yusuf Mumbasa! Thirstier and fiercer than his predecessors, the people of Kimbala are dumb by his extreme ruthlessness. The strongest of men are hit down to nothing more that murmur; the influentials are coiled in their shells in total stillness and the civilians hide behind the hypocritical facet of patriotism! Who will dare stop Mumbasa?!
 
Parts/Divisions: The movie, Somewhere in Africa, is divided into two parts. Somewhere in Africa and End of Somewhere in Africa.
 
Memorable Lines/Scenes: "There is a thin line between bravery and stupidity" "None of the two, however, is worse than cowardice" "They need to know that our generation failed them because men like you are cowards" "There are moments when begging and pleading is utterly useless" "Nothing is hidden except it is a secret. Nothing is found except it is a treasure" "Peace is more importance than all justice. And peace was made for the sake of justice. Not justice for the sake of peace" "Tomorrow, they say, will be better than today but they forget that today was yesterday's tomorrow"
 
Cast: Majid Michel, Martha Ankomah, Eddie Nartey, Amanobia Boakyi, David Dontoh, Roselyn Ngissah, Kofi Adjorlolo, Ebi Bright, Eddie Watson
 
Excerpt

It’s really unarguable that this is an interestingly different story line. I started this movie thinking… well a lot of things don’t make sense but they were eventually explained (and sadly at the end one still didn’t make any sense but it can be rationalized) like how Mumbasa was able to go from soldier…

by Nollywood REinvented
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Review

-Story: [4 out of 5] It’s really unarguable that this is an interestingly different story line. I started this movie thinking… well a lot of things don’t make sense but they were eventually explained (and sadly at the end one still didn’t make any sense but it can be rationalized) like how Mumbasa was able to go from soldier to president and how he got so much following? (this was later explained by Bibi Bright’s character) and why did Frank look so much like Mumbasa? (I thought about it and decided to stop worrying my head besides it is said that for each person there is a look-a-like somewhere in the world… as a side note, I like to psych myself that mine is Rani Mukherjee lol). I also thought that the ending had to have been the most anti-climactic ending in the history of film making (well.. to be less severe, in the history of Frank Rajah filmmaking)… it was just like cut cut… black screen… text! I’m thinking o hell no…. so I watch Mumbasa cut everyone up into pieces but I don’t get to see everyone else cut him into pieces? What injustice!

 

-Originality: [0 out of 5] So… Yes! The rumors were there. At first I didn’t believe it but after re-watching, it is obvious now that in true Frank Rajah fashion, this movie is a rip of the 1992 movie, Sarafina!, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Leleti Khumalo.

 

-Predictability: [1 out of 5] Indeed the ending was a given. In actuality many things were a given. You can’t fault it though because it comes with the genre. What would have been unpredictable would have been the end credits saying “…and Mumbasa lives on” but no! Mumbasa dies… so.. predictable (come to think of it… that ending would have also solved the problem of an anti-climactic ending, but we all love our happy endings… o well)

 

-Directing/Editing: [2 out of 5] Hmm… the villain in this movie was Mumbasa played by Majid Michel. Now, the thing about this villain is that he is heartless, cold blooded and driven (oops did i just describe every villain?). His standout feature however is his occasional cruel humor. In most movies (most well executed and developed movies that is), whenever the villain does something that is humorous to him and painful to others (think the Joker in Batman – The Dark Knight, scene where he tells Batman to pick which ship to blow up), the viewer becomes really angered and irritated and feels like jumping through the screen to choke the villain. Why? Character development… however in this movie, whenever Mumbasa said something funny whilst people were dying I actually caught myself laughing at their pain. Was it only me? Does that make me heartless? I think not… I just think the characters were not appropriately developed enough for me to be like “stab him, shoot him, kill him… die. Die. DIE!”. Granted, many-a-scene I did feel pity and sorrow for the citizens of Kimbala… but… that was simply due to the awesome music by Bernie Anti. I do commend Frank for amazing cinematography… a job beyond well done. I honestly commend Pascal Amanfo for the dialogues (none of that Shakespearean bull) and mostly for the speeches in the movie.. well done. There are however many Anachronisms as pointed out by a reader in the comment section of this post (like the fact that they reference Obama’s “Yes I can” and the movie is set in 2000-2004ish)

 

-Acting quality: [4 out of 5] See me see transformation. O Majid took this role to the cross. He nailed it and baby that ish is not resurrecting any time soon…. What!!!! (don’t ask me what anything I just said means… because me sef no know… it just sounded right in my head). Everytime Mumbasa came on screen I kept wondering to myself “shebi this is the same Majid that was kissing Yvonne Okoro in Why Marry?” See his stance. See his posture. His vocal coordination. BABY! Choi… AMAA best actor 2012… well deserved I tell you. The next signature performance was by Amanobia Boakyi, I thought she performed her role to the tee. After this movie, I officially fear Roselyn Ngissah… that is all. Cameo by Kofi Adjorlolo. Eddie Watson did his usual thing (i.e. “I am making a desperate attempt to act”) too much effort… too much see-through effort. Ebi Bright. All day. Every day. Eddie Nartey had the worst most annoying impression of that fake accent… argh! ***PULLING OUT MY HAIR*** sometimes it was bearable… other times, I’m thinking: stone me now. David Dontoh as Gabiza was not in the least bit convincing. Martha Ankomah… sending kisses… Oh my dayz, I have finally found a movie where this girl doesn’t make me want to give her a tight slap and send her to speech therapy (or alternatively to the tailor to find clothes her size). Job amazingly well done… especially in the scene where the crowd goes to Mumbasa’s residence to demand the release of Mrs. Archibong and Mumbasa comes out… takes the gun and shoots her and Martha just stands there and stares. blankly. Sometimes, the dry eyes speak more volume than a river of tears ever could. Needless to say, some of the student extras sucked and most general extras sucked as well.

 

-Setting: [4 out of 5] On point

 

-Costume/Make-Up: [5 out of 5] Nicely done

 

-Props and Graphics: [4 out of 5] I don’t think the crowds were large enough. I mean I felt if they had bigger crowds the impact would have been easier felt/more felt/more impactful (whatever the proper grammar is)… it’s just hard to empathize when all you see are crowds of 30 students. I’m like “o how cute… you against the soldiers… who have guns!? This should be quite amusing”. I’m just saying… anything worth doing is worth doing what? Well

 

-Video Quality: [4 out of 5] Good although I couldn’t see in the dark in some scenes

 

-Audio Quality [5 out of 5] On point

 

-Soundtrack: [5 out of 5] O dear Bernie Anti, Lord knows if not for your o-so amazing music my tear ducts would not have even attempted to get wet!!! Lovely work from the one and only.

 

-Musical Score: [5 out of 5] Nicely done

Trailer

Music Video

Soundtrack

Set Pic

Majid Michel as General Yusuf Mumbasa 

Somewhere in Africa, 6.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings


About the Author

Nollywood REinvented


16 Comments


  1.  
    flint

    have u watched laviva, oh please review it and as well tell me where u got a copy, i have been looking for that movie for ages, as for ur question, i think sometimes it is loyalty and sometimes it could be out of desperation where one has nothing tangible at hand to do.

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    •  

      Noooo! I haven’t seen Laviva and I’m very pissed about this

      Can’t find it ANYWHERE!

      It’s like he only made it for Cinema and made one DVD copy for his stash and never released it, it is impossible to find.

      I only saw “the making of..” video in the documentary, “Welcome to Nollywood”. Since then I’ve been searching

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  2.  
    Anonymous

    I think d beginning of this movie where mrs archibong was teaching d students looked like “sarafina” and who knew Obama is 2003/2004 yet day where quoting him…i wonder if he told africa “yes we can” at that era…the vehicle dat brought Frank to kimbala is even too tooshed,a 504 wld av made more sense and do they shoot some1 with an ak47 at close range(wen mumbasa killed mrs archibong)….

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    •  

      So true. Very true indeed. Some definite Anachronism going on in this movie. I really wasn’t paying attention to the dates now that I think about it. But I will adjust the review accordingly.

      However, I do not agree with your AK47 observation. I think he shot her at close range for impact and for the pathos of the entire scene basically.

      I do acknowledge the Sarafina similarities though but they’re not really enough to work against the movie as a whole

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  3.  
    Anonymous

    Hi there,
    First time discovering your site. Interesting review. I actually think the ending is apt. Why? Just look up the string of horrible dictators and coup makers our continent has had. How many of them had truly ignoble ends/death that matched the gravity of their heinous crimes?

    None really, except perhaps Qaddhafi but that event came after the film was made. Charles Taylor under whom Liberia crumbled in a reign of terror, is suspended in the clinical minutiae of the International Criminal Court conviction far removed from the searing grief suffered by his victims. And the ICC will not give him the death penalty for “humane” reasons. Mobutu died from illness, no punishment. Idi Amin died in relative peace in Jeddah. Boigny died and left his country in tatters with a mockery of the largest basilica while his people languished in poverty. Rawlings became twice democratically elected president of Ghana. Abacha died without suffering. Babaginda is alive and well plotting all manner of political shenanigans. So what gives?

    So in a sense, the movie was presenting a realistic “anti-climax” whether due to budgetary reasons or the synthesis of actual historical record. And that is the ultimate lesson to us all on from the continent.

    We invited Mr. Majid Michel last year September to our University in the US to screen “Somewhere in Africa” and give a talk about his career as an actor. And Boy, was there a wonderfully spirited debate afterwards about the film among the really diverse audience made up of Caucasian, Latino, Asian, African students, & Diaspora Africans!

    This film, budget constraints notwithstanding gives us all many teachable moments. It also says a lot that the cast comprised not just Ghanaians and the Nigerian director + Screenplaywright, but a Cameroonian actress Ciara Zita Galego, the Liberian Eddie Watson, Sierra Leonians and other Nigerians.

    I think next a well-financed blockbuster movie with a tight script and cast drawn from the heavyweights from all over the continent would be seismic and cause people to wake up to the huge potential for this homegrown industry of ours. African venture capitalists need to take some risks here to get us off the shoe-string miracles our intrepid filmmakers have been creating.

    Sorry to blab on and on. As you can tell I’m a huge cheerleader and have been since the independent/commercial African film industry’s inception in the late 1980s.

    Good job you’ve done with your reviews. Thanks

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    •  
      Anonymous

      Oh and you are absolutely right. Bernie Anti is truly brilliant. Very original approach to music scoring. i hope he is able to recoup some $$$ for his talent by selling iTunes/MP3 downloads of his music scores. I had the chance to ask Abdul Salam once why they never sell the music scores as additional revenue stream. He id not have a really good answer why not. It’s a shame. I’ll say the same for the Nigerian music score genius Austin Erowele whose great tracks have not been separately marketed.

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    •  
      Anonymous

      Oops WordPress not allowing me to use my screen Id? ah well, the name is Zizi2

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    •  

      Wow! Thank you for your comments and compliments… (it’s much appreciated).

      And I see your point about the justification of the movie’s anti-climactic ending but in the end… it still has an anti-climactic ending and your average Nigerian movie viewer is not really thinking about the history of the thing.

      I would go back and adjust the review but the 4 points for story is not due solely to the anti-climactic ending but the lack of a general wholistic feeling during and after the movie.

      However, none of these take away from the work of art… a lot of effort was evidently exerted for Frank Rajah’s first try at a military movie.

      Again, thank you for stopping by Zizi and we are all hoping that one day soundtracks for movies will be sold alongside the movies, lest the Erowele’s and Anti’s of Africa go unnoticed.

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  4.  
    Oye

    I just want to say; I’m in love with all your reviews. You always speak my mind!

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  5.  
    GREATME

    This is the best movie of the year. I cant believe it. Majids character gave me fire and fire and fire. He showed up and showed out. Every bit of this movie is interesting.

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  6.  

    I live in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa and have watched the movie. I must say this is the best from West Africa. It brings a fresh air from Nigerian love, Marriage and culture based movies which are home soup for every family in this part of Africa.

    The actors are super; Majid, Beautiful Roselyn, Martha and Mrs. Archbong, Mary (I cant figure their real names from the cast) are super.

    The author clearly depicts what has been happening in Africa dictatorship, resulting to suffering of children ad women. Mumbasa is a true reflection of African dictators – Mugambe, Late Idi Amin, etc who at some pint view themselves as gods of Africa and blame woes of their leadership on Western countries.

    Well can anything good come from Ghana! Yes, ‘Somewhere in Africa!!!!!!

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  7.  

    Wow,wat a gr8 from west african artist. D movie was so inspired to the xtends dat i cried gud work, majid, bt d way u acted was so cruel as mumbasa. Bravo 2 mrs archibong (d brave teacher),2 all d students,mary,martha,roselyn,i love thier actions. Most xpecially,majid michael

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  8.  
    Peace

    Movie made sense really, but i cant say that i didn’t laugh hilariously at points where i was supposed to cry. I love Majid Micheal’s acts (two roles nicely done), the students (though few), Mrs Achibong (i love that woman) and the rest i cant really remember. I like the story line, though i wont have seen the movie if not because it was an assignment on African literature and post colonialism. They did good for an African military movie… kudos. My best line is still “the Americans came with a bible and told us to close our eyes to pray. Before we could open our eyes, we held the bible and they took our land”.

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