Criticism: Cornered

    Cornered is a short student film from Youth Film Platform, a centre that seeks to empower the youth through media in Nairobi. Directed by Laura Wanjala and Charles Mwangi, the film tells the story of two characters, Vivian played by Chartee Zachary and Tony played by Samson Kamau who find themselves taken hostage and locked up in a room. In six minutes, we get to know how the characters got there and, hazily, why they are there.

Cornered Actress Chartee Zachary
Cornered Actress Chartee Zachary

The film is a single-location shoot, a commendable achievement for such young filmmakers to pull it off ,definitely following in the foot steps of great films such as Malooned, Phonebooth and The Exam.

The script gives nothing away out-rightly and we are left to wait to get everything in bits, building up the suspense to the very end. The camera work is neat and the cast way above average.

Being beginners though, they were bound to make a few basic, even elementary, blunders along the way. The first beat of the film where Tony  discovers there is another person in the room is wasted by lack of a reaction from him and an inappropriate camera angle. Vivian claims she has been in the room four days but she doesn’t look like it. It is also a bit puzzling how one hostage can be tied up and the other left untied as it is obvious what would follow next. Tony even had his phone in his pocket! When he makes a call it is not to the police,but to a friend to whom he delegates the work of calling the police.

The film, being shot in one location, swayed on the verge of being boring because of the use of  only about three angles throughout.  A few high angles could have heighten the feeling of despair the two were in, add a few cut-aways to that and we could have had an amazing film.

Giving credit where it’s due though, that blood looked pretty convincing and the idea of showing the shadows during the fight as Vivian screamed was very creative.

For amateurs, Laura, Charles and crew have done an amazing job, definitely people to look out for and I look forward to their next work.

Part of Cornered crew L-R: Co-Director Charles, Camera operator Marvin and Richard
Part of Cornered crew L-R: Co-Director Charles, Camera operator Marvin and Richard

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