African movies have risen up the ranks, though at a slower pace compared to Hollywood blockbusters. The movie industry has attracted investors, producers and talented actors. African movies are now household names worldwide, and much gratitude can be attributed to Nollywood.
These are my top 10 favorite movies of, in and about Africa - some are classic and some are modern.
#1 Blood Diamond
- Directed by the famous Edward Zwick
- Starring Leonardo Dicaprio, Djimon Honsou, Jennifer Connelly, Kagiso Kyupers
- Running time: 143 minutes
Edward Zwick does it again in this phenomenal movie. Blood diamond is a story of a smuggler, a fisherman and a syndicate of businessmen trying to get their hands on diamond.
The match of wits is over the possession of a priceless diamond. Leonardo Dicaprio gives an outstanding performance and the support crew delivers to expectation. The movie is captivating, informative and out matched.
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This thesis, however, should not deter the expectations of the viewers of such a genre. The movie is to be mostly enjoyed by old school screen setting lovers. The movie can make for an afternoon day out among colleagues or friends.
"Blood Diamond" Official Trailer HD
#2 Hotel Rwanda
- Hotel Rwanda is a true life story directed by Terry George
- Starring Don Cheadle, Sophie Okendo, Joaquin Phoenix, Xolani Mali
- Running time: 121 minutes
Terry George brings to life the struggle experienced by the Tutsi during their struggle with the Hutus. The movie is based on the true life story of a hotel manager in Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, who housed over a thousand Tutsis refugees. This scene is based on the time frame of the struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. It is a touching and heart felt story that portrays the cruelty of the militia and the loss of lives.
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#3 The Last King of Scotland
- The Last King of Scotland is directed by Kevin Macdonald
- Starring James Mc Avoy, Forest Whitaker, Gillian Anderson, Kerry Washington
- Running time is 121 minutes
Kevin Macdonald directs this cast to reveal the inner life of the Dictator Iddi Amin of Uganda. The movie is based on the life story of Iddi amin as seen by his personal physician during the 1970’s. Iddi amin was resented by many in his country though others blindly followed out of admiration and others out of fear. He ruled in tyranny and was a dictator.
Iddi Amin was responsible for the deaths of many in his country and the destruction of the facilities. The cast gives a convincing performance and a perfect impersonation of the dictator. The movie passes for a family watch though parental guidance is advised for the teenage viewers. The last king of Scotland is a 5 star movie and a worth while watch. It leaves no taste of regret, as a good movie should.
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#4 Tears Of The Sun
- Directed by Antoine Fuqua
- Starring Bruce Willis, Cole Hauser, Monica Bellucci, Eamon Walker
- Running time 121 minutes
Antoine Fuqua delivers yet another outstanding story. Tears of the sun is a movie based on a jungle rescue mission. Bruce Willis plays the part of an ops Commander who leads his team into the jungle of Nigeria on a rescue mission. The mission is set on retrieving a doctor who is trapped. Monica Belluci plays the lost Doctor. The doctor demands that they recue other 70 refugees who are also trapped in the jungle. The doctor insists on the rescue of the refugees and will not leave them behind. The soldiers though not planning on it have to either agree with the doctor’s demand or return without her. Her demand is not negotiable.
#5 Black Hawk Down
- Directed by the talented Ridley Scott
- Starring Josh Hartnett, Ewan Mc Gregor, Tom Sizemore, Erick Bana
- Running time is 144 minutes
The movie is based on life or death survival kicks of the United States soldiers against the Somali soldiers. Over 100 U.s soldiers move into Somalia to capture two top Lieutenants of a renegade warlord. The Soldiers however find themselves in battle with a large force of heavily armed Somali soldiers. The U.S soldiers are fighting for their lives. Ridley Scott carries this blood shed movie with poise. The scenes are seen to be well thought off and well played out.
Josh Harnet gives a great performance and the same can be said to his co-actors. Though heavily dominated by death scenes, Black Hawk Down delivers a touching story of unity and survival. The soldiers have to rely on one another and instincts to make it through the battle. The end is gleam for them but the fighting spirit is still embraced. The movie delivers the very aspect of human beings, when all you have are the people around you.
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#6 The Constant Gardener
Fernando Meirellles does what not many can do. He directs a vendetta play line and comes out with an interesting watch. The story is based on a widower bent on uncovering a plot. The widower is determined on getting to the bottom of a potentially explosive secret involving his wife’s murder, big business and corporate corruption. Hubert Kounde’s contribution is felt all through the play. The movie brings out the length a man would go to protect his family and the things he cares about. Past secrets are seen in the play as the worst weapon against any man. The widower learns to survive, forgive and believe in his instincts when everything else seems to fail him. The family can enjoy such a watch. Friendly dates could also pass for such a screen play. A general impressive play enjoyed by a wide range of viewers. The constant Gardener is a worth time watch and fulfilling screen display.
#7 In A Better World
The movie, "In A Better World", revolves around the lives of two Danish families. The two families are destined to cross each other and an outstanding friendship develops between them. Sorrow and loneliness though lies in wait of the families. The moving story delivers the importance of unity and love in our lives. The play bases on the emptiness that exists when love is shuttered. Director Susanne Bier delivers a passionate story with all details in check. Will Johnson gives his best act yet and friendship bond is evident in his eyes. The movie though is based on a tight setting. A linear audience can digest it with ease.
The simple, yet cherished bonds of love and friendship keep this movie alive. The test of time is placed on this play piece. Broken hearts take central place in this world and the movie characters do not fail to show how these will forever impact on our decisions in the world. The cordial scenes are entertaining to a particular age set or mind theme. In a better world is no doubt a good movie but not captivating to everyone. Trailer preview is recommended before commitment to a watch.
In A Better World (Available to watch online)
Chweneyagae plays the role of six days in the violent life of a young Johannesburg gang leader. He portrays the harsh life associated with gangster life. The tough acts on the streets and the aftermath of every wrong. Tsotsi brings to life the consequences of every choice in life. The play is based on the shattered dreams of a young soul and all the turns of life. Gavin Hood shows the art work of the rough streets and the ambition of his characters. Israel Mokoe delivers a heart felt performance and compliments his co actors.
The movie is a good show for teenagers all around the world. It focuses on the true and harsh outcome of wrong decisions and the awaiting consequences. The expectations of a happy ending will keep viewers glued to the screen when it comes to this movie. The end is a twist that is appreciated by many and not seen as coming by a majority of the audience. The play is based on a good lesson learnt.
Tsotsi is a five star screen watch and is suitable or general family viewing. The movie is worth every effort and the emotions are as real as they come. The actors deliver a compelling show and nostalgic view.
#9 Critical Assignment
Critical assignment is based on the happenings of Africa. The President of an African country decrees that the arms budget will be diverted into the Water for all projects. The project is aimed at helping the country develop. The arms dealers do not see it that way. The greed of the dealers leads them to ill motives. A coup is planned. The journalist Michael Power discovers a coup sets by the arms dealers. The country’s safety is at risk and powerful forces want to see the country in ruins.
Cleveland Mitchell is an actor to be appreciated. The movie cones through without falling as a one man show. Craig Gardener gives his all in his role as expected by his large fan base. A worthwhile movie that will keep you captivated to the very end.
Critical Assignment - HD Trailer
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Raoul Peck brings to life the true story of the rise to power and brutal assassination of the formerly vilified and later redeemed leader of the independent Congo. The Congo leader encounters numerous challenges in his rise to power. Enemies of the state constantly battle him. The leader is even doubted at some point by his people. Plots are schemed and plans drawn for his downfall. Raoul Peck clearly defines what a movie biography is all about. Erick Ebouaney gives an outstanding performance and draws the viewers in with his screen mastery.
Your turn - what are your favorite African movies?