When all else fails to communicate the urgent need for change, especially when said change should seem obvious to most, the answer tends to lie ironically in finding a more subtle way to communicate. 'Critical Assignment' does just that in making a much taken for granted issue, the worlds 'global water crisis', the theme of a film in which a hero and a politician that actually fight for the rights of their fellow countrymen. In addition, the theme is masked by all of the elements of great film making. This fictional movie takes place on the African continent in a country that is not specified, with a president who is only known by his official title. This alone I felt was a brilliant move on the part of the writers and director since this is an issue with no set parameters except that it tends to affect 'third world' populations...a demographic of which a large portion of Africa unfortunately fits the bill. On the same token, the film takes the time to show all sides of Africa from the very areas of unsatisfactory living conditions that the media makes the whole world aware of to the lush green countrysides, to the metropolis. In popular cinema, a recurring theme is that of the hero that risks life and limb to save others regardless of the personal dangers involved. Very rarely do we see this occur with issues that are very real and relevant at the moment of filming. The basic need for clean water is stressed throughout the movie in which actor Michael Power portrays himself in a role as a journalist whose sense of humanity and courage are beyond parallel. He is projected as a very human character as opposed to the granite cast male images of heroes past that has flooded Holllywood for decades. What makes this such great film is that it never falls short of what movie goers expect of an action/adventure film as it maintains a firm grasp on the topic at hand. It supplies action sequences in abundance that are on par with any high budget blockbuster...with something else that I found to be quite a surprise. The film, since shot in Africa, was equipped with no shortage of actors of African heritage. I was introduced to a cast of which I found to be of insurmountable talent, only to later find out that the bulk of them are held in very high esteem on their native continent. Richard Mofe-Damijo who plays the aforementioned president did not show up much in the film, but his performance was such that you will remember him as an very integral part of the movie. He is regarded overseas on the same tier as a Denzel Washington or Bobby Deniro. Visually, his acting prowess makes it very clear as to why. RMD as he is often referred to was not the only well known personality to make an appearance. Patrick Shai-who plays a corrupt defense secretary, Thami Ngubeni-intern to the secretary of defense and love interest of Mr. Power, and Buki Ajayi-the mentor to whom Michael gives much praise for teaching him the ropes, all give stunning first rate performances along with a superb supporting cast. This, visually gave the movie more credibility as there were no barriers between the man, and his role. With his presence being the driving force behind the movie, it makes a bold statement...or rather presents a question as to whether anyone would have the strength to stand and make a difference if the issues became more personal. Tunde Babaloa, Bob Mahoney, Celia Couchman and Jason Xenopoulos, who are responsible for the story, screenplay and directing of such a potentially important piece of work should be praised for their efforts. Seldom arises an occasion in which I would recommend that everyone see a particular movie, and I am very proud to say that time has definitely come.
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The President of an African country decrees that the Arms budget will be diverted in to the "Water For All", project. The journalist, Michael Power, discovers a Coup set by the arms dealers.
October 27, 2020