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Pabi and Jimah are happily married and living a peaceful life when disaster strikes in the form of a domestic accident which leaves Jimah with a scar. Unable to live with his new features, his anger and hurt turn him into a monster. The once peaceful relationship turns into abuse. Written by
With a cast that cuts across Ghallywood, Nollywood and Hollywood (by the way my computer underlined all except Hollywood), I was not surprised the way Sinking Sands turned out. Jimmy Jean-Louis has starred alongside big names such as Bruce Willis (in Tears of the Sun, which apparently also starred Akosua Busia); Jean Claude van Damme in Derailed; Monique in Phat Girls; Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in Monster-in-Law, etc. He is best known for his role as The Haitian on the NBC television series Heroes. Jean-Louis is obviously a 'big boy' from Hollywood. Then there is the big-eyed, baritone-voiced Yemi Blaq from Nollywood. He may not be a Ramsey Nouah or an RMD, but he sure is a big one from our Anago friends. Chris Attoh is in Sinking Sands too although he plays a minor role. Then we have Doris Sackitey, Eddie Nartey and Akosua Agyapong. Ama K. Abebrese who plays a leading role in the movie is a British of Ghanaian origin (obviously) and this was her first movie, even though you would not know that from her nearly excellent portrayal of Pabi Adulai.
To quote the synopsis from www.sinkingsandsmovie.com, "Jimah (played by Jean-Louis) and Pabi are a match made in heaven until a domestic accident turns their loving marriage into one of violence and abuse. Time to make decisions is here. Pabi, the woman at the center of the controversy must choose between love and life, companionship and independence. What will she choose? What will you choose? Sinking Sands cuts across race and sex. It demands answers. It demands self evaluation from individuals in all types of bondage. Especially WOMEN". It may be described as one of those women rights movies that cry out to our women folk to stand up for their rights and stand up against abuse. What makes it different though, is how Leila M. Djansi, the director, tells that story of Jimah and Pabi. I must say it is not the type of movies Ghanaians will warm up to easily because there is minimal comedy. Ghanaians love comedy. The story is however told in a manner, which drives the audience with it thereby placing them close to the characters, and makes for wonderful viewing. It is also easy to associate with the characters, what they do, et al, after all there are bankers and teachers everywhere these days.
Setting and Location I had a chat with the Production Designer, Tony Tomety (who I must proudly say is an Odadee), and it increased my appreciation of the movie even more. I understand the living room and indeed house of Jimah was created just for the movie in addition to 'creating the rain' among others. The locations used were also simply beautiful. I loved the river scene especially, and it brought out the romance in Jimah and Padi well. I know some men enjoyed her taking a dip very much. There was some calmness and a certain genuine 'Africaness' feel to it. The costumes used were equally on point and added to the natural flow of the story.
Casting I do not recall seeing Akosua Agyapong in any movie except this one. She was not bad but I thought it might have been better casting an older person especially when her make-up did little to show she was an ageing old woman.
Jean-Louis was good. He played Jimah to perfection and his experience as a big actor used to the big screen was evident in how he carried himself right through his romantic and sensual self to the deformed face to his abusive character. What I found rather awkward and inadequate was what I want to belief was an oversight with his make-up after ostensibly spending two months in the hospital. Jimah was not an aged, balding man. It was thus strange that he did not start to wear a bushy or overly grown moustache and hair. I will think that if he had been bedridden for two months then his moustache and hair should not look same as before his accident. Or? Ama was brilliant. It is hard convincing me she made her debut in Sinking Sands. She acted professionally and beautifully and did well to shed her British accent (I do not want to call it LAFA because it was not acquired here. By the way, I take it that she has one? Even those who visit England for two weeks 'develop' it!). Perhaps her success can be attributed to the fact that she was cast alongside some very experienced and great names in the industry, amongst them, Doris Sackitey.
Doris Sackitey is no doubt a veteran of the screens and she played Ms. Duodu the principal well. She seems to have put on a bit and that helped in portraying her role excellently, after all most head teachers tend to be plump, or?
Yemi Blaq's role as Dr. Matthew was also well done. He did well to limit his Anago accent and that is a plus. Actually, the different accents brought in by Yemi, Jimmy, Ama, Doris and Akosua gives the movie an original African twist without setting it in any particular country or locality. Yes, there was some Twi which was well sub-titled but the movie successfully placed itself as an African one more than Ghanaian or any such description.
Ideas Sinking Sands is a movie I will recommend to all. The story is a powerful one and it is well told and well enacted. I have come to understand that when it comes to reviewing movies, our lenses will always differ. I recommend Sinking Sands though and look forward to hearing what others think about it.
It deserved all 4 statuettes at our maiden Oscars.
My rating: 7 out of 10 is fair. Methinks.
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