Originally posted at Samuel Saviours blog
by Kizito Samuel Saviour
On Thursday 1st October 2015, over 300 people witnessed the Official Premiere of the long waited Ugandan movie dubbed “Blockbuster of 2015” titled “WAKO”, a Ugandan Gangster Film educating crowds about Cervical Cancer and Lung Cancer.
WAKO, just to prove and defend itself being dubbed a 2015 Ugandan Blockbuster movie, it won an accolade/award for the Best Feature Film of the year 2015 in the Arusha International Film Festival in Tanzania which happened a few weeks before its premiere where it got its first unofficial screening to the Tanzanians during the festival who embraced it and believed it deserved the award “as I think”
The movie follows a story of a male thug/thief (whatever you can call him) called Wako (Geoffrey Echakara aka Joeh Joe) who is released from prison, with only his theft skills to start a new life, on reaching home he gets to find his sister “Sera” (Natuhwera Brighton) diagnosed with Cervical Cancer, she needs 15 million Ugandan Shillings to be treated, Wako looking at their poor family realizes that he is the only Savior of her life, he embarks himself on a journey of committing a “few” more crimes (you know what I mean) just to raise enough money to save his sister from danger. This movie shows the hustle he goes through with his best friend “Kujjo” (Zziwa Aaron Alone) in the chase for money through the gangster-ish lifestyle where they get to mess up with a ruthless villain “Muggy” (Robert Ernest Bbumba) and his small gang.
By 7:00 PM, on Thursday 1st October at Theatre La Bonita, the electronic bell was rang requesting people to enter the auditorium for the event to officially kick-start, unfortunately I was still outside and I missed the performances at the start which I’m told were performances from musicians.
Well this movie’s intro could be beautiful but of course it would’ve bore me a little if I was watching the movie back home on my laptop, as in we are having these photos mixed up with some motion and still graphics that simply make you wait anxiously for when the action is to start and feel like pressing the forward button but nevertheless it was compensated with the background soundtrack that had the feel of what we were waiting to watch and on the other hand good for cinema in that those seconds or minutes get the audience set up to start focusing on screen before any action kick-starts. So I am partially okay with it and partially not okay with it.
Okay this street service provider “Sera” (Natuhwera Brighton) is visibly standing on a location as though she is the only one in the area, anyway I expected to see some more colleagues of hers just to make me believe that she has been in the game for some time, and the sex scene haa save for the noise from the audience, how I wish it was longer, but anyway we saw what happened so am cool, I wouldn’t want this movie to have such stuff as much, uhm well my first general problem here is the fact that, yes we get to see “Sera” in the beginning when she is fine then later she is so down admitted in the hospital.
I wish we could see the stages one undergoes, probably symptoms of cervical cancer visually but anyway they tried to compensate for it when the Doctor/Nurse (Hellen Nagawa) explained to the sick admitted “Sera” about it verbally, I should say the writer “Zziwa Aaron Alone” did his research in a way that his education in this movie was fairly on point and used the medical personnel as well as the living actors in the story communicate to us directly but indirectly, yeah you read it right! The other thing about this movie is that, for every after 10 or 20 minutes we had some action going on that made this movie feel fast paced, some things were predictable but most of them were actually awesome in the way they turned out, uhm when we come to the sound, I should say they did a fairly good job, though it lacked the depth of emotions in the film making some of us wish we could feel the pain of some of the actors in the story, the locations they had for this film were really Ghetto as well as the costuming.
It being a Ghetto Gangster action kind of film, its cinematography wasn’t so professionally executed rather free styled in a way that brought out the actual ghetto feel of the story, in my opinion, if the Director of Photography “Wamasebu Eric” of Punchside Filmz invested any professional basic way of filming to this movie it would kill the gangster-ish feel so he did a good choice to freestyle it, he left the idea of making it perfect and made most of it imperfect which made it cinematic in a way that, I looked at this film and I was like okay now what should I complain about besides the scripting bit where the dialogue of some actors weren’t as strong to create that very believable feel of their characters, I love the fact that this movie was made in a mixture of English, Luganda and some little bit of Kiswahili which made it feel as natural as ghetto life could be in this era but well the English seemed too much to match the ghetto though the lead actor Wako’s way of playing around with English was natural to me.
The other problem I had was that, these guys are gangsters but even at going to their hideouts we never saw any one smoking weed, cigarettes or ganja as we may call it, that looks like a real mistake to me because it’s very rare to find gangsters in Ugandan Ghettos or Slums who don’t take a puff or two while they do their usual work, maybe these were good gangsters anyway but incase it was forgotten, who knows?! And before I forget, this movie really had many guns, these are real gangsters who never think twice before shooting anyone, they shoot bullets anytime, anywhere regardless of the environment, the director “Zziwa Aaron Alone” told me that according to the research he made, he got to figure out that there are some gangs in slums who live such a lifestyle in a way that even the police fears to reach their premises and they posses such guns, of course pistols!
The other fact is, the writer really knew how best to play around with the twists in this film, it’s a film that has twists in twists with twists, yeah its really true, he did his best in exposing various villains in this story and I credit him for making me like a thug “Wako” (Geoffrey Echakara) who gave reasons why he robs and made me feel like saying “Go ahead thief!”, and for the main villain “Muggy” (Robert Ernest Bbumba) I loved the way he was crafted in a way that he was a coward who scares and kills people, you will never see him fight since he lives on his tagline of “They got the punches, we got the guns!”, the way he was holding the gun made me wonder if he really uses guns in real life, it looked real to me but to be honest I expected much depth of this character, so it was fairly good but it needed to be better than that.
I couldn’t feel that much rage and badass personality he was trying to portray but he did his best for the role which am partially fine with, but on the other hand, I wasn’t happy for the fact that we didn’t get to see much of the other villain “Cypher” (Otrix, the “Oli Mbuzi” musician), the pace at which this movie was running made it hard to realize it was actually 91 minutes long, now the ever ever annoying bit about having movie premieres at Theatre La’bonita is that these people don’t know the culture of film screenings in a way that they never let people watch credits once the film has ended, this happened to the “Bala Bala Sese” Movie premiere, and again they did it this time to the Wako Premiere, so disappointing I should say. All in all, to my review, Wako is a great film and it deserved the “Best Feature Film” Award it got at the Arusha International Film Festival 2015 edition in Tanzania.
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