FREETOWN

AbubakarCropWell-intentioned but ultimately unsuccessful dramatization of a true story about Mormon missionaries caught in the middle of the Liberian Civil War.

Directed by Garrett Batty who wrote the screenplay with Melissa Leilani Larson. NOT YET SEEN BY RICH. (JLH: 3/5)

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At great personal risk, a Liberian man named “Phillip Abubakar” (Henry Adofo) agrees to drive six Mormon missionaries from Monrovia (the capital of Liberia) across the border to safety in Freetown (the capital of Sierra Leone).

Complicating the effort is the fact that two of the six “Gaye” (Phillip Adekunle Michael) and “Menti” (Michael Attram) have been working in a Monrovian suburb, and the other four are reluctant to leave without them.

This is a fertile field for high drama and the sincere religious convictions of all involved required respect for their predicament. However, instead of individuating characters, providing compelling back stories, and drawing the audience into a desperate situation, director Garrett Batty and his co-writer Melissa Leilani Larson settle for a routine action film with “good guys” chased by “bad guys,” none of whom are truly individuated. A lost opportunity. (JLH: 3/5)

LineupCrop

Top Photo (From Left): Phillip Adekunle Michael as “Gaye,” Michael Attram as “Menti,” with Henry Adofo as “Abubakar.”

Bottom Photo (From Left): Phillip Adekunle Michael as “Gaye” and Michael Attram as “Menti” with villagers facing a line up. The rebel commander is singling out members of the Krahn ethnic group. Menti knows that Gaye is a Krahn and therefore even though he is a Mormon Elder, Gaye likely to be slaughtered along with the other Krahns in the village.

Q: Does Freetown pass the Bechdel Test?

No.

There are very few female characters in Freetown, and they are all around the edges. Even the [unnamed] little girl in the photo above spends more screen time talking to the Elders than to her own [unnamed] mother.

Tags: Freetown, Garrett Batty, Henry Adofo, Melissa Leilani Larson, Michael Attram, Phillip Adekunle Michael

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