It appears that the new craze in the pre-screening of Ghanaian movies is to not show the full length of movies to the critics/the press. First it was the movie, ‘Trinity’ and more recently, it was repeated at the screening of ‘The Game’. Just as I said when reviewing ‘Trinity’, I wish that a point would come when movie critics and the press would be invited to watch a movie and make suggestions that would be effected before a movie is released. However after watching producer/director, Frank Raja Arase’s interaction with the press, I am convinced that might not happen in this lifetime.
Frank Raja, who clearly believed that he is ‘the omnipotent movie director’ and that his movie, ‘The Game’ is the best thing that ever happened to the movie industry, put up an unnecessarily arrogant attitude (not for the first time) against pressmen who asked questions about his movie during the screening at the Silverbird Cinemas.
A reporter who did not understand certain elements of the movie, asked the director to explain the story behind the movie. Frank rubbished the reporter’s question and said that if he had to explain the movie to the reporter, that would mean he didn’t do a good job as a director. Hint! Hint! If after watching the movie for almost 2 hours, more than one reporter wanted to find out the story behind the movie, then quite clearly he had failed to some extent as a director. He shouldn’t get it twisted; he is no Quentin Tarantino. The only reason why they wanted him to explain the story was because the movie gets confusing due to unnecessary use of visual and sound effects, several pointless scenes, and an innovative but reckless approach to story narration.
‘The Game’ tells a complex story of, love, affection, greed, betrayal, deceit, corruption, ambition, revenge and complete malice. It opens with the story of two brothers, Teddy (Majid Michel) and Bill (Johannes Maier).Their father left behind a lot of money and a huge business empire for them to share. But as greed and betrayal sets in, Teddy schemes different plans to have everything for himself. Teddy decides to take the life of his brother. After a futile assassination attempt fails, he decided to get married to Shienel (Yvonne Nelson) to push his plans through. But how is he going to achieve his evil dream with marriage? Does Shienel also have her own plans?
Of course this should be an interesting story that would grip audiences to the edge of their seats, but the movie is complicated by another story of Brandy (Yvonne Okoro), a chronic liar who lies about being engaged to a mega buck businessman, Ronny (John Dumelo) in order to enjoy media attention to boost her modeling agency. Suddenly, the saying that too many cooks spoil the broth started to make sense to me.
First of all I think the two stories should have been told in separate movies because both could stand on their own. There was very little connection between the stories for them to be rolled out in one. Personally, I liked the story between Brandy and Ronny much better; it was witty and less crappy. The story about gun wielding masterminds and assassins needs a lot of work. It completely lacks believability in terms of acting and reality.
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Secondly, the director didn’t have to take the title so literally to the extent that he introduced gamblers to play the ‘game’. Yea, the narration for the movie was done through gamblers playing cards at a casino. Completely pointless, as I couldn’t connect what they were saying around the table to most of the scenes that unfolded. According to Frank Raja, the relevance of the gamblers would be clear once we see the full length of the movie, but I still doubt that they would have any impact on the full story. I think the concept of the gamblers added nothing to the story and the use of foul language in the opening scenes to describe these gamblers was just not worth it at all.
I wonder how casting was done for this one because some of the actors have no business being on our screens and most of them still need lessons in acting. The new or upcoming actors used in the movie don’t deserve another chance based on their performances. Their acting was so mechanical and childish; watching the energizer bunny run is much more interesting. And what was with the way some of them spoke? They sounded like bunnies that have inhaled helium. LOL!
I could go on and on but I fear that I may turn into Frank Raja’s pawn in his silly games so I would end it here. I think it was a good gamble on the part of the director to try and tell a complex story strong on suspense but I think based on the overall outcome I saw, he lost out. ‘The Game’ premieres at the Silverbird Cinemas (Accra) and Miklin Hotel (Kumasi) on July 9 so go see it and let me know what you think about it.