If you have watched some Ugandan movies, then you would know what it means to have a movie ruin your day. That moment when you are excited because the title and trailer say so: only to have yourself faint at the screening of the movie. Well, even though the Devil’s Chest has its flaws, it is not one of those films that will make you wish you had stayed in bed.
Apparently Hassan Mageye, this movie’s writer and director, is one of the best directors in East Africa. He is known for movies such as The Tailor (2015), Galz About Town (2015), and Ugandan Pollock (2016). A close informant also mentioned to me that this man must have collected more awards than any other director within the entire East African region.
Take the Devil’s Chest for example. Film got about eleven nominations for the Uganda Film Festival Awards; including:
- Best Actor
- Best Actress
- Best Cinematography
- Best Feature film
- Best Screen play
- Movie of the year
- Best Costume
- Best Sound
- Best Editing and post production.
When I first started watching the movie, I got the feeling that this was going to be another replica of Beasts of No Nation. But later it proved me wrong. I could however not avoid the urge to note down a few things that to me were a little off even though these were later over shadowed.
- I thought that some of the actors lacked passion. What they said did not correspond with how they said it, if one said to the partner how and why they could rescue Amon (a character in the movie), they both acted as though there was some refrain. As though something was holding them on the inside. Telling them not to do what they were saying. In my opinion, there was lack of conviction as of whether they even had the courage to do what they were saying. So I could not develop any personal convictions either. Their passion for rescue was on the surface. Complimented by the body language. I couldn’t feel it any deeper than they said it.
- Some lines seemed like stage. Like they had been recited for Drama or stage. I have the audacity to say this because when I personally attended some auditions for acting, one of the judges later revealed to me that what I had done was stage acting. Not film. So from my observation, some of these lines were obviously recited. Not natural. Yet this is film. Not poetry.
- The accent of some of the characters was a little off. I do not think this was the intention of the director. But the way the message was delivered made me think so.
- I am not a film maker. So this is a question out of curiosity. Perhaps a cinematographer might have a better answer. Was the whole film based on close-up shots? Because as much as I loved the imagery and video-graphy,( believe me this film was good). But hey, I thought some scenes were better off as wide or medium shots. That’s to your judgement. Or leave me an educative note in the comment section.
- Local Dialect. Now I wish the film was fully in local dialect. Because like I said before, some of the character’s English made me??? Question the film. The Swahili seemed so natural, plus the other language. Must have been Acholi or Lango or another. But that was fantastic. I loved both the protagonist and Antagonist’s English.
Moving on from that, I think the story was awesome, Choice of Title? Incredible! I loved the fact that Kony had a heart that loved this woman. His words to her were really deep and touching. (Why did he say to the BBC Press that they did not murder civilians?), the sound or background music was fantastic, the scene where the rebels sing ***We are Matching, killing etc in the will of God was Hilarious. I mean the dark humor was fantastic! So at the end of the day, the beauty of this film washed away all my anguish. And it was a win-win.
Damn! I loved it! Please leave your comment about article or film in the comment section below. And watch trailer BELOW. Enjoy!