STANDARDS RAISED AND EQUALLY LOWERED AS WRONG NUMBER FINALLY PREMIERS
Standards were raised as the long awaited movie Wrong Number finally premiered on the 19th of March 2014 at Alliance Francaise. For how long it was awaited you ask? Well 2 years to be precise and the premier lived up to the hype. If you live somewhere along Thika road, you may have spotted the motorcade of limousines that could easily have been mistaken for some Hollywood big shots who have just landed in Kenya and are being transported to their 5 star hotel. But no, the limos were ushering the cast and crew to Alliance francaise where an anticipated red carpet event with photographers and glamorous looking people were anxiously waiting for them.
Showbiz at its best; I’m talking lifestylesx of the rich and famous here people. The Wrong Number premier will go down as one of those movies that really set the bar high as to how movie premiers in Kenya should actually be done. Kudos to the event organizing team for a well orchestrated premier.
After a photo shoot on the red carpet, beautiful ladies in short black fitting dresses ushered us to our seats in the auditorium for the business that brought us all there..The movie screening..And that is where all glitz and glamour ended.
Big thumbs up to Zephaniah Mwangi (Bubbly Investments) and Stephen Mwangi Kaburugu (KBG) the producers of the movie for daring to not only make a movie but also see it through to the point of an actual premier which is not an easy fete. It would have been nice to have the movie premier in a cinema opposed to a theatre auditorium but word has it that the movie was rejected by Century Cinemax and I can give 3 reasons as to why that was so:
1. Sound: Always an issue with most of our productions and wrong number was no exception. Sound was not clear at all and it was strenuous trying to get what was being said by the characters. The soundtrack was not helpful either especially since in most cases, it was louder than the actual dialogue making it again harder to understand what was being said. The choice of soundtrack used was not matching with each and every scene not that it was necessary to have a soundtrack in each and every scene. The movie was meant to be a thriller, agreed, but there were scenes that were not so thrilling that had sound effects that did not match the mood set. In some cases though, the sound was clear and sound track matched very well to create that anticipatory, on the edge of your seat, mood.
2. Camera/Story/Editing/lighting: I have high respect for editors. They can make a bad story look good and good stories look bad. The later is exactly what happened in this case. By the time the movie was ending, I remember the person sitting next to me ask, “so what was the story?” to which I replied “I honestly do not know!” The story aside, color grading was either not done for the whole film and only a selected chosen few scenes or different cameras were used to give a very uneven picture quality with contrasting dark and light shades. A couple of good camera shots were observed though but the overall story was ruined by bad editing, bad lighting (except for the day exterior scenes) and a somewhat shaky story or maybe I should say complicated story! People should keep in mind what their target screening is when making movies. This movie looked as if it was made for tv and not for Cinema. Read the synopsis of the movie here.
3. Casting/Directing/Acting/Dialogue: Now this is where I could write 3 pages of criticism but I will summarize it all with the famous quote “There are no bad actors only bad directors” with the exception of Wrong Number. Whoever was in charge of casting for this movie did a terrible job which turned what was to be a thrilling movie, into a comedy, because of the bad acting and execution of lines by the actors. To be fair, the roles were befitting to the actors in terms of appearance and that is just about it. Most actors failed in execution of their roles and I felt like I was watching a high school play…A musical to be precise because of how the dialogue was being “sung” out.
There were daring make out scenes that can be given a thumbs up and it is glad to see Kenyan actors coming out of their comfort zones and seeing movies treading on that thin line of sexuality. However, having 3 or 4 very good actors driving a story and a supporting cast who are not as good, lowered the acting values of the movie. James Kariuki( who played Morgan, a young ruthless rich drug baron.) , Biko Nyongesa(who played one of Morgans Assistants), Jane Gitiya(Morgan assistants wife) and Koi Ngujiri(Kate Mawanda) deserve a mention for the great job they did.
Like I said, big thumbs up to the whole team for daring to do something and not wait for miracles from heaven to build this our film industry instead of actually doing it by producing content. It was admitted by one of the producers that this was their 1st project and there will be many more to come and we surely look forward to the many more. Overall, it was a good start and other film makers should borrow a leaf or two on how the movie was well marketed. I just wish the movie outside the auditorium was as good as the movie inside.
Movie Rating: 4.5/10
Event Rating: 8/10
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Reviewed by Gerald Langiri.