Reviewed by Faith Oneya
Nairobi Half Life pulls no punches in the country pumpkin come to town story subject that it chooses to address. Each scene, each actor, each line uttered goes all out, often grabbing the watcher in tender spots in the heart, the mind and belly leaving laughter, sadness, awe and delight all at once in its wake.
Not unlike Xuma in Peter Abraham’s novel ‘Mine Boy’, the main character Mwas played by the talented Joseph Wairimu(Who walked away with the best actor award for his role in the Nairobi Half Life at the 33rd edition of the Durban International Film Festival) leaves the country for the city with desire and ambition boiling in his veins and burning in this guts. Mwas is soon ‘baptized’ into the city life in a mugging incident that leaves him penniless and desperate. A series of unfortunate events follow leading him to make choice in his life that lead him to ask this poignant question at the end….
“Have we decided to be the way we are…?”
Mwas’ story is the story of many Kenyan men and women. His inspirational journey, birth into the city and baptism by fire and his razor-sharp execution of his role leaves the audience tingling with emotions.
The star-studded cast also features Maina Olwenya (who may be better known as the pedophile uncle in MTV’s Shuga2) who plays the role of Oti, a thick-skinned, street-smart, smooth criminal who is charmed by Mwas’ childlike delight in his own dreams.
The local cast sticks to sheng as the primary mode of communication, with a few touches here and there of Kikuyu and English.
The cast is predominantly male, but Nancy Wanjiku’s role as the ‘call-girl with dreams of her own’ Amina is played with a depth ,authenticity and alacrity that only an established actress like her can pull off.
In the end, one leaves thinking: “That was one well-told Kenyan story.” Whether the movie wins an Oscar or not, they have already made Kenyans proud.
Planet Media Cinemas Westgate, Friday 5th October to Thursday 11th October daily at 3:20pm and 7.20pm.
Century Cinemax Junction Friday 5th to Thursday 11th October 2012.
The timings for Junction are as follows
Weekends (Sat & Sun) 10:50am, 1:00pm, 5:30pm, and 9:00pm.
Weekdays (Mon to Fri) 10:50am, 1:00pm, 3:10pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm.