Review: Locked-In

Directed by Stephanie Boateng and written by lead actor Kwame Augustine, two friends Mike and Kwesi take a journey to Ghana to seek pastures new. While en-route to complete a lucrative land deal, they encounter an array of issues. Also starring: Eric Kofi-Abrefa and Kwame Yeboah.

A great film of any genre or length can succeed when it has characters who are effortless to watch, and that’s exactly what Kwame Augustine gives us with Mike (Eric Kofi-Abrefa) and Kwesi (Augustine). They have this immediate charm and create an established friendship and connection. The story could play out as simple as possible and it would still be enjoyable to watch with these two at the helm. They bring a fun, easy-going air on top of capturing their motivated, business savvy side. Augustine and Kofi-Abrefa create similar but different characters, they have a lot in common but their temperaments and outlooks are much more individual. That means the two actors get a lot of room to play off of each other and push each other’s buttons. It gives the film a lot of personality which is endlessly entertaining to watch and you only wish you could keep following their story.

To a certain extent, Augustine does play things fairly simple with the story which is what makes it all the more satisfying when it reveals that it actually has more to offer. The progression is extremely clever, it moves with confidence and a natural flow. The pacing is on the money to really focus on the charm of its characters before bringing through a few extra layers. Those layers then open up a whole new perspective on these two men which makes the story even more interesting. It really goes to the credit of his writing that it doesn’t even need those extra layers, it could work in that simple style of being about the journey over the destination. However, including them was a smart touch and just increases how much enjoyment you can get out of Locked-In, as well as playing upon the viewers’ imagination.

Stephanie Boateng then takes things a step further with a varied and strong directorial style. Opening up with a very familiar and classic shot choice of cinema, taking in the landscape and giving you the feel of the setting before you dive in. It establishes the atmosphere smartly to reflect both the comedy and the larger story which lingers beneath the surface. There’s then a shift to a more focused style which puts the emphasis on the friendship of its lead characters. It holds onto an air of fun, it has a great colour and energy, and then leaves us with a superbly open-ended story which has a multitude of possibilities.

Locked-In is funny, clever, entertaining and leaves you wanting more. You could happily watch Kwame Augustine and Eric Kofi-Abrefa for a lot longer than ten minutes with the amount of personality, charm and energy they bring to the screen. The story moves in a simple manner but has more to offer than you’d expect. Boateng’s direction lets the focus remain on the back and forth between the leads, enhancing the comedy but also feeding into the unexpected elements of the story. It feels like it could be the perfect introduction to a full feature.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯ | 8/10

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