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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

244. The Mirror Boy

    After a run of unprecedented success, yesterday threw up one of those testing nights for everyfilmin2011.
    I drove to Birmingham in search of two movies after convincing myself that I had read correctly on Vue's listings that there was to be a showing of Life In A Day.
    Sadly, when I arrived at the Star City cinema, not one of the three staff I spoke to had any idea about the movie.
    Now, I'm happy to admit I might have got it wrong but the cinema was awash with promotional stuff about a film of which none of them had apparently ever heard. There is even a big display in the main foyer.
    Anyway, the extra time gave me chance to have a drink with a mate in Brum and then I went off to Birmingham Odeon.
    The last time I set foot in this place was to see The Teardrop Explodes (that was a band), circa 1983.
    Now, it is, of course, a cinema, although its entrance certainly has a 1980s feel about it. It all feels a tad run down.
    Odeon is backing an African film called Mirror Boy which has received mighty acclaim on that continent.
    This had me licking my lips. Any blog followers will know that I have fallen in love with African movies and particularly enjoyed Benda Bilili and the very recent Life Above All.
    The screen was empty except for me and two others.
    Have you ever noticed, the fewer people there are in the cinema, the louder they feel they have to be?
    It was like I wasn't there. But this became a hundred times worse when three women came in, ten minutes into the movie. They seemed to want to have a party.
    I moved way to to the left and stuck a finger in my right ear for the rest of the film.
    Regardless, what did I make of the much lauded Mirror Boy?
    The fact is I really wanted to (and expected to) like it.
    The reality is that I didn't. I suspect this is because I must have missed out on a bag of cultural references. I know that because the party to my right were highly animated over certain scenes which left me cold.
    What's it about? Well, a single parent overreacts to her son beating up the school bully and decides they both need to return to her homeland in Gambia.
    They get to Banjul (the airport certainly seems to have been spruced up since I was there 20 years ago) and then he gets lost in the sprawling market place.
    Edward Kagutuzi plays Tijan, the boy around whom the story surrounds.
    It's quite a charming performance without having nearly the bite of others I've seen from children this year.
    From the start, though, the supporting players are robotic.
    The scene where Tijan turns on the school bully, Rodney Marsh, (not the former England footballer) looks like something out of a school play.
    Anyway, it's when he disappears in Gambia that I really lose the plot.
    He is led astray by a young boy with black teeth who nobody else can see but looks remarkably like Gary Coleman in Brush Strokes.
    While his frantic mother has enlisted the dopey police officers to try to find him, Tijan is being led into adventures which will eventually led him to discover the whereabouts of a father he has never known.
    Along the way things start to get all supernatural with folk seemingly having magical powers which some abuse.
    I was as lost as Tijan in the jungle. The acting didn't improve and the storyline jerked around all over the place.
    I'm sorry, I just didn't enjoy it. And, as I said, I so wanted to.
    Rating? 4/10

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244. The Mirror Boy

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