I love Kenya, but...
By a customer
from South England
, 20 Jan 2007
Kims character Kuki suffers a broken leg in a car accident. She is a divorced mother of a little boy, and gets it on with an attractive guy who was a member of the group of friends in the accident. As a new start they decide to go to Kenya. (As you do on a whim).
Once in Kenya they settle in their individual ways to a new life, but it becomes fraught with struggles,and loss, with some very sad moments. Based on a real womans life, who was genuinely a tough 'Kuki'. Daniel Craig is excellent, with a convincing accent as a family friend. Vincent Perez as Kuki's husband Paulo is dashingly handsome but as a husband Im afraid I would smack him with something hard for being so selfish.
They go and live in a dilapidated ranch, complete with 2 locals hanging around ready as staff, and get it back to its former glory.
Very disjointed story telling though. You could tell it was lifted from a book, as they tried faithfully to portray this brave womans life. There was little background as to why the story started in Venice. Who the european people were they met in Kenya. It was as though each chapter of the book was portrayed in sub sections that didnt flow. The move from Venice to Kenya was poorly introduced with no discussion of what they were about to do , or live on.
The shots of Kenya were beautiful, and I love Kenya, but this didnt do it justice. The whole thing was working too hard like a channel 5 afternoon film. The gushing instrumental strings to add effect to the majesty of the countryside were almost comical. It improved once the african music was matched to the scenes.
For quite a while on their arrival you wonder what on earth they are there to do, until eventually someone turns up with cattle, and you realise how they must be making a living. For me that needed explaining, as you cant just turn up and get on with it unless you are completely loaded - if they were no-one referred to it. Also no-one discussed TB, malaria, where they got the water from when the well broke and the trek they must have made to get it.
There were too many shots of Kim looking anxiously at someone else - as though she was acting her socks off to compensate for the very little flesh to the character that was written in to the script. Kim can act, and is a very naturally beautiful woman, but this film didnt make the most of her. It was annoying in that she would constantly go to her 'son' and hide behind him, as though she didnt know where to put herself in the scene.
Kims character 'kuki' just began talking Swahili immediately! Where was the character build up, the interactions, the fear of being in a new country, culture and learning all about it etc?
Not enough was made of the other relationships Kuki was forced to make due to her husbands frequent absences. She had to deal with the local villagers, the staff, the vegetable garden, lions at night etc alone. Not enough emphasis was made of the locals, and their language, music, customs etc - which as a newcomer to a country you would be observing as you tried to fit in. Maybe I expected too much realism. As Paulo the husband says to Kuki, 'life has a different rhythm here'. He was right, but this film didnt show it.
I gave it 2 stars only because I love Kenya. If you want to see a better 'family relocates to Kenya' story then watch 'Nowhere in africa'.
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