Dang! It has been one hell of a minute.
Today I want to be honest about something. This is not to say that I am usually dishonest. It’s just that this is one of those unpopular opinion things and you know how touchy we are about this kind of stuff.
Let me start by saying, this is not for those ‘support it just because it is Kenyan’ types. If you are about that life, this is the wrong post for you. Or maybe it is not. You know, since this is Kenyan too? Heeeey, looks like winning on all fronts.
Now let’s get down and honest with it.
On Saturday, Nick and I finally got around to watching Disconnect. Just in case, Disconnect is this Kenyan romantic comedy we started hearing about some 2 or 3 years ago. Nick Mutuma and Brenda Wairimu were set to be the leads from the beginning. I guess because this was their idea. That was the first casting mistake.
Hold on, before you start hurling stones my way, I have more to say. So if you are patient, you can just come for me in one go, sawa?
The reason I believe Nick and Brenda were bad casting choices is because these 2 have not acted in anything. I can see the look on your face. Remember? Patience. As much as these 2 have been in multiple productions across the country and there’s that one ‘African’ show they did, they haven’t done much acting.
If I asked you to describe roles they have both played, you just might notice that it has been a recurring one. Yes, they have both been playing the same characters for years, hell, I will even go out on a limb to say their entire lives.
Yes Nick and Brenda have been playing themselves on all your favorite shows. There, I said it.
This is not a post about these two so let’s go back to Disconnect.
Anga Diamond Plaza in Parklands.
They only had 2 screenings that day and the first one was super early in the morning. We showed up some minutes before the movie started since we already had our tickets. Walked into the 111 seater cinema hall and it was just the 2 of us. That was sad.
I had not seen much hype around the movie after the premiere which happened well over a month ago. That might explain why we were the only ones there to watch the movie.
This movie was rigged with casting mistakes. Most of the actors came of as first time actors and you could clearly tell they hadn’t gone through their lines. There were several points of dialogue where despite having great lines, the delivery fell short and they sounded like they were saying the lines for the first time. Some actors were reacting to news they hadn’t heard yet, like how?
When Bridgette graced the screen in her first scene, it was like someone had slapped me across my face. It was clear she only got the role because she was dating the lead actor (Nick Mutuma). She was hands down the worst actor in the movie until they introduced that random guy who asked to confirm Celine (Brenda Wairimu) was on her periods when she refused to sleep with him. In short, she was the second worst.
Belinda, (Illya), yes the same one from Nairobi Diaries, brought forth her ND accent which kept changing mid-sentence. Sigh. It felt like someone told her to just play whatever her idea of a classy person was.
The sad part was that they had some awesome actors but did not use them. The likes of Justin Mirichii, Brian Ogola, Shiviske Shivisi, William Mwangi and Isaya Evans but they all had small roles. Brian Ogola’s role was not that small but they messed up with his costume. It almost felt deliberate to have Josh (Nick Mutuma) come off as the best dressed person in the entire film. Weird, I know. #ConspiracyTheory
I would have loved to see these guys do more in the film and maybe they would have saved some bits of it.
It was a huge let down. The sound was almost completely removed from the film. It sounded as if they recorded it in some studio then dubbed it over the video. The actors also didn’t deliver the sound aspect, if it was recorded separately, to match the emotions in the video. They also had zero ambient sound. How can you miss that?
I don’t even know how to explain the mess that was the sound.
Yes, that is how flat it fell. They really forced their comedy bits and still nothing. Flat. That is what the comedy in this film was. Flat. I will not even dwell here because I will just keep repeating “flat” over and over again.
I think I have mentioned how they missed the mark with Brian Ogola in the costume department. Yani, and the way he has a good body, how can you get that wrong?
Their costume choices looked like they were told to carry whatever they thought their characters would wear and no one cared to check them.
At one point, Celine shows up at a black tie event with a dress that had a stuck zipper, and her bra was sticking out the back. They could have easily edited that part out, but nooooo, they left it in there.
I wish they had put the same amount of effort they did in finding the office location into the costumes department. Just a little.
Script + Story
The story was all over the place. It started out all rough and at some point it looked like they almost had something going then as soon as they had me, they lost me again. Disconnect had some interesting lines of dialogue once in a while but the delivery completely obliterated the beauty they would have been. That was just disappointing.
If they had any money, I think this is where they invested it. The cinematography was cool but everything else in the film brought it down. They could have also used more cutaway shots because they repeated the same shots and they were not the pretty kind.
The cinematography was the only good thing about this film.
Now, I am not the biggest SautiSol fan out here, but there is something like too much Sautisol. Man, it was like playing their songs back to back and not to completion. Were their songs the best choice for this film? Not by a long shot. I believe there are better songs out here that would have worked better.
I can keep at this for a while because Disconnect was just that bad. It felt like an unfinished student’s project first rough rough rough draft. Could they have done better? Yes, waaaaaaay way better. This is what banking on huge names in an industry can do for a project that initially had potential.
Like I had mentioned on my instastories and told Nick as we left that cinema hall, if you presented Nairobi Half Life and Disconnect to someone who has never watched any Kenyan film and told them that both films were directed by the same person, they would not believe you.
If we want to grow any industry in this country, we need to be honest. The problem with not speaking out about our feelings and giving our honest reviews, is that we find ourselves stuck with mediocre standards and that makes no sense.
So yes, there you have it. As far as I am concerned, Disconnect was a crappy movie. I am not afraid to say it. You are welcome to think otherwise, and that is okay I am not forcing you to think the same, this is my opinion. You also don’t have to try convince me to change my mind.
Now you can start throwing your ‘let’s support local talent’ rocks my way. I can take them.