Tuesday December 12, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: Is ‘The Good Lie’ a South Sudanese story? Chemical Thanker weights in

UNT – I sat down on a couch last friday evening after a frenetic week schedule trying to zoom into my calendar for the weekend. I thought with nothing for the weekend a part from routine meetings on my calendar, I must recompensate myself with a good Friday movie. Quickly in the trains of my thoughts, The Good Lie Movie came to my mind.
For those who have no idea what the movie is or haven’t access it due to unbearable constraints, The Good Lie movie is a deeply moving, well crafted drama acted in Hollywood by Acadamy award winner Reese Witherspoon (from “Sweet Home Alabama”) and our very own South Sudanese: Emmanuel Jal (Paul), Kuoth Wiel (Abital), Ger Duany (Jermiah), and Arnold Oceng (Mamere) a British – Ugandan born actor with short stints in “My brother the Devil” and “Adulthood” movies.

The movie depicts a story of lost boys and a girl (for that matter) who through the 1983 second civil war were orphaned and forced to move to Ethiopia and then to Kenya for safety. Its important to point out that the film was shot in most part at a makeshift refugee camp in South Africa with a short clips taken in Kakuma refugee camp, of Northern Kenya.
The film as I watched was well over 1 hour and 45 mins, and I had to crash a few popcorns at my disposal to go over the line with thematic characters that made me almost weep. The movie is extraordinary scripted and with well accomplished figures and models (Ger, Nyakuoth (both super models), Oceng (actor), Jal (rapper, actor) and Reese (actor)), you can expect that such movie will never fail to impress.

South Sudan and Sudan as a whole went through a lot of brutal ordeal since 1955. The second civil war of 1983 ended by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 proved too devastating for kids and specially the lost boys who trekked thousands of miles to Ethiopia. And this is where The Good Lie’s thematic elements came from. Its truly a South Sudanese story staged by an Hollywood producer to delineate a ferocious childhood of 4 orphans who had nothing left in the world. Unless you have your own version of what Sudanese and in particular the South Sudanese went through during the darkest days of our struggle, you will agree that the movie clearly showed a glimpse of the crisis through Western cameras although not as fully blown as you wished.
The theme shot at Kakuma camp reminded me about my own short spell at the camp where dust, heat and scarcity of food were the order of the day. Anyone who has watched the movie and been to that camp will feel the same.
Although the movie looks godly, its bound to fall short due to difficulty by African actors in making it to mainstream Hollywood. Simply put, the story and struggle in the movie can only be understood by an African or those who spent time in Africa. Just as previous movies by Africans couldn’t make a clear cut in generating box office revenues, this movie will struggle to make even 5 million dollars at the box office although the triumph and successes by the “Orphans” as depicted in the movie are parcels of the American dreams. And to add insults, the movie is slowly falling off the theatres, displaced by movies of interest to North Americans.
If you live Down Under (Australia), the movie is not due until November 20, 2014. If you live in South Sudan or other parts of the world outside North America however, you will not be able to see the movie during the current fall unless you use other means of downloading it through illegals torrents. But no matter what you do, the movie is a must watch! You will not be disappointed if you manage to get your hands on its DVD.




So there is my review. What do you think? have you watched the movie yet? please comment below

Chemical Thanker

Chemical Thanker is an Engineer, Academic and a Media critic.

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