Director: Tim Huebschle
Screenplay: Tim Huebschle
Cast: Elize de Wee, Pieter Greeff, Armas Shivute, Ralf Boll, Khadijah Mouton
Apart from the epic cinematography and great directing, Tim Huebschle ‘s crime thriller #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm is a good film thanks to the effort put in documenting a historical era, with precise attention to detail.
The look and the feel captured by the film’s cinematographer and editor, Haiko Boldt, are heightened by an array of crime scenes and investigative procedures, which draws one into this cinematic delight.
The film sets off with Meisie Willemse (Elize de Wee) waking with a pounding head in the middle of a traffic intersection, after getting knocked unconscious while she was trying to help a passed-out prostitute. The torso of the same prostitute is found in a dry river bed the following day.
As Willemse starts her investigation, she meets a journalist named Piet Potgieter (Pieter Greeff) who knows Meisie’s about a crime Willemse committed in her youth. He threatens to expose her past and destroy her life if she does not leak all information relating to the murder. Adding to this, when another murder is committed, it is found the murder was committed with Willemse’s service pistol- which was taken from whoever knocked her unconscious at the beginning of the film. This, in turn, leads to Meisie being discharged from her duties.
#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm takes its thin and predictable storyline and turns it into a gripping crime mystery. De Wee is the best and worst thing in the film. As seen in the movie’s promotional material, de Wee is in a continuous straight face and she keeps this throughout the entire 95 minutes of the film. Her poker face might be the least convincing thing in the film, which pioneers the crime mystery genre in Namibia.
Despite this, de Wee’s portrayal of the rugged cop with a drinking problem is spot-on, so much so that this might just be her breakout performance. Then there is Greeff, who sold Potgieter, a terrifying and horrifying villain, expertly paired alongside the tough Willemse.
The narrative of #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm is well carried by easy-flowing dialogue, and barely, if ever, made for any uncomfortable moments, which is unmissable in many locally-produced films.
Some cast members who stood out were Khadijah Mouton as the young prostitute who gets kidnapped, Muhindua Kaura as the strict and no-nonsense police chief, Ralf Boll as the brilliant and orderly Forensic Pathologist, Armas Shivute as Willemse’s partner, Joalette de Villiers as a racist store owner from the 1980’s and Chantell Uiras as the young Willemse (aka Charmaine). These talented stars understood that the story would go down smoother if their characters were nuanced human beings and they did just that.
Apart from sounding like a Namibian film, the cinematography really made for some of the best moments, which is thanks to the beautiful landscapes of Windhoek and Namibia as a whole. Although, the close-up shots are a little too many to the point they become irksome.
This visually stunning Namibian feature cements Huebschle as one of the best filmmakers the country has to offer.