Film Review: Nairobi Half Life

Review by Laura Walubengo for Captial FM Lifestyle magazine

Ok I admit it. The moment I started watching Kenya’s new gangster movie Nairobi Half Life, I almost folded my hands across my chest and waited for the script to play out as I was imagining it in my head.

The young hopeful main character Mwas, thinks he is the one to beat the odds, leaving the poverty of ‘ushago’ to make it as an actor in Nairobi – something that even aspiring actors in Nairobi know is a tough call.

I was waiting for Mwas to struggle a little bit before his fairytale falls on a silver plate and everybody lives happily ever after. But allow me to say that if that is what you expect of Nairobi Half Life, you are in for a ride!

Mwas’ life as portrayed in this film does not reflect that of a lucky Kenyan, but one of an ordinary guy faced with extraordinary everyday circumstances met by any human being, only set in Kenya.

On his first day in Nairobi, he experiences a taste of Nai-robbery, the Central Police Station loo cleaning duties and a cigarette. Coached by an uncanny unwise thief Oti, Mwas works hard to be accepted in a gang. He then happens to land an acting gig at Phoenix players, which made those in his hood ask – “Huko ni wapi?”(Where is that?)

Life in the underworld is riddled with double crossers, and Mwas is soon sucked into it as he struggles to keep his heart and intentions pure. Nairobi Half Life is an adventure that any Kenyan will relate to and any non-native will be thrilled by.

Beautifully written, the script is expertly directed by Tosh Gitonga – his first movie after a wealth of experience on M-Net series Changes.

Mwas (Joseph Wairimu) was feted at the recent Durban International Film Festival as Best Actor for his ‘charming’ portrayal of his character. Tosh’s work made it to the headlines too.

Veteran actors such as Nini Wacera, Mugambi Nthiga and Eddy Kimani rub shoulders with the new and equally talented Nancy Wanjiku and Wilfred Olwenya who plays Oti.

The film is being premiered today at the WestGate cinema in an invite only event, however from Friday (Aug 31) to September 6, the film will be screened twice daily and tickets cost Sh450.

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