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Student movie review: Thief

Biko Nyongesa (yellow T/shirt), D.O.P Steve Anderson Wekesa, cast member WanjiruNjihia (in red scarf) and Jedidah Manga (in specs) for continuity.



‘THIEF’  is the first all Kenyan cast and crew Thriller produced by Steven Anderson Wekesa and Esther Gicheha of Emerald Group Limited. The movie has been directed by the celebrated Matrid Nyagah and co-directed by Esther Gicheha who is also the script writer known for her unique story lines. Rated PG 10, the ‘THIEF’ is a sure breath of fresh air in the local movie circles.



The film features a mix of professional and amateur actors from the vibrant Kenyatta University Department of Theatre Arts and Film Technology as well as students from other departments within the university. Among the celebrated cast is the multi talented film, TV and theatre actor and dancer Biko Nyongesa (Andrew) who has featured in a number of movies, TV programs and theatre plays  including ‘Shattered’, a feature film directed by Gilbert Lukalia featuring Rita Dominic, ‘Higher Learning’, ‘Wrong Number’, ‘The Devil’s compound’ and Homecoming’, stage plays written and directed by Andy Ruri.



Frank Abong’o (Lecturer), an all round stage and film actor who has featured in ‘Village Christmas’ plays by Mavuno Church, is also featured in the movie. Although amateur actors, other members of the cast who delivered beyond the director’s wildest imagination include Caroline Kinuthia (Caro), Gabrielle Wanjiku (Alicia), Charles Wanjohi (Tony), Michelle Kawira (Cate), Clinton Mukangula (Johny) and Edith Osiro (Lily).



The movie is based on the lives of 11 first year students undertaking an acting class; the lecturer (Frank Abong’o) gives them an assignment and gives them a strict instruction not to show each other their assignments. This sets the pace for the movie which transitions to a camping scene; the students together with the lecturer decide to enjoy their weekend at the Geography department’s arboretum. Upon their arrival, they realize that Johny (Clinton Mukangula) forgot the food in the bus. The lecturer decides to assign them duties as he goes back to town in the company of Tony (Charles Wanjohi) to buy food.



While running errands, strange things start happening to the students as some start missing. James (Thomas Onkendi) is found lying dead hidden in a hole, shortly after; Lily is also found lying by the stream. Andrew (Biko Nyongesa) and Caro (Caroline Kinuthia) are making out in the bamboo when Cate (Michelle Kawira) runs into them panting. She informs them of the strange happenings and they decide to work like a team.



After leading them to the scene where Lily was lying dead, only to find the body is missing. Cate is accused of acting strange and they decide to leave her in the stream after an argument with Caro, Andrew and Anne (Wanjiru Njihia). Shortly thereafter, they find George’s body lying dead in a bush. Who could be doing all these? With nobody to trust, the students start pointing fingers at each other.

Biko Nyongesa as Andrew


In the meantime, Alicia (Gabrielle Wanjiku) appears and threatens to kill Lily. Tony walks into the picture and saves Lily. Who is the killer? Are the people really dying? And who will come in to save the situation?



The film does a perfect job in highlighting the issue of trust as a key component of life. The director captures the audience attention by creating suspense. This is achieved through a creative mix of camera shots and angles. With a unique way of lighting, where the actors set light themselves throughout the film, ‘THIEF’ is a perfect example of what creativity can do to a movie as opposed to money.



The acting is also very believable to an extent that the actors are emotionally overwhelmed in the movie (bamboo, classroom and tent scene). Watching this film will make you feel like you are part of the action (Cate hanging scene). The editor does an awesome job in tying the story with awesome, believable sound effects and music. The scenes also flow very smoothly giving the viewer a feel of action and thrill. The best bit in this film is how it ends; the script writer succeeds in playing with the audience psychology.



Watching this film will bring to reality the fact that there is indeed a lot of hope and a bright future for the local movie industry.



All the actors in this film have done their best to convince you that they are indeed not acting; they have all stepped into the shoes of their characters to bring out the first ever Kenyan Thriller. Biko Nyongesa, Charles Wanjohi, Frank Abong’o, Edith Osiro, Caroline Kinyanjui and Michelle Kawira are an awesome bunch of talent waiting to be exploited.



Being the first feature film by Emerald Group Limited, we should expect better stuff to come from these young producers who have all that it takes to make the local movie industry a multi billion industry. “THIEF” is a definite hit for the local movie industry.

 Watch trailer

RATING: **** (4 STARS)

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