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Film Review: ‘The Game’

Director: Jenny Kandenge
Screenplay: Jenny Kandenge
Cast: Girley Jazama, Bret Kamwi, Edo Dice, Roya Diehl, Bica Martin

Rating: ★★★

Think of the Saw franchise. But low budget and only 17 minutes in length. That’s The Game.

Although she is emerging in film, I have seen Jenny Kandenge deliver with her stage productions. Deliver as in she always find a way to rope one into her storytelling. When I first saw the trailer of The Game, however, I was not impressed. But in this short film, Kandenge managed to find a way for me to put a cork in it.

The Game follows Ndanki (Girley Jazama) and Nico (Bret Kamwi) as they find themselves locked in a room with two strangers Esme (Roya Diehl) and Greg (Edo Dice). Nobody knows how they got there, all they know is to leave, they have to play the game.

The film plays on the a-soul-for-your-freedom trope which forces its characters to panic and make tough decisions, or a decision for that matter. Locked in a small room, with a note, a clock, a surveillance camera and a gun, the characters give performances which forces one of them to sacrifice himself for the freedom of the others. At surveillance we meet Frankie (Bica Martin), which reveals the twist, and where the film also introduces a Get Out type of play- although to a lesser degree.

While the storyline doesn’t offer anything new, it is refreshing to see a Namibian thriller that is stitched well together with a surprisingly satisfying ending. The Game is worthy for the dialogue you can digest, the sadistic ending and cast performances- especially by Jazama.

The film doesn’t have any gore, which further differentiates it from the Saw movies. The Game is a fun thrill ride, especially since it was produced with a very low budget and shot in just 16 hours just before the entire country went on Covid-19 lockdown.

This is a game.

The Game is produced by Pegasus Entertainment Productions with funding from Goethe Institute Namibia and the Namibian Film Commission.

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