Uradi,The  Kenyan film movie review.

Uradi,The Kenyan film movie review.

Our Rating 9/10

Uradi, a film written and directed by Kang’ethe Mungai, made its debut last year in September at a drive-in cinema known as Galleria. Unfortunately, its release was muted due to the restrictions engineered by COVID-19. Its genius was, however, not lost to the world thanks to Netflix, the platform that is seriously revolutionizing the film industry.

Uradi’s Cast.

Uradi features phenomenal actors such as Shiks Kapyenga, Manaseh Nyaga, Peter Kawa, Robert Agengo, Bilal Mwaura, etc. Currently, the Kikwetu Productions film is the second most watched film after The Huntsman Winters War on Netflix by Kenyans.

Introduction. The type of nostalgia to expect.

Remember when you used to cringe when you heard gunshot sounds while watching Cobra Squad? Remember how deeply dissatisfying their action scenes were? For a long time, the Kenyan film industry was not matching the expectations of its audience which led to many people worshipping foreign movies and television shows instead. For a long time, the attitude towards Kenyan films has been negative, with audiences always expressing their dislike for the storylines, CGI, authenticity, and overall quality of our local movies and shows. Lately, however, the narrative is changing. For instance, the TV series, Crime, and Justice has set a high bar for film creators who wish to produce crime movies. When it came to filming sets, action scenes, and even realism, the show gave nothing but quality. Kang’ethe Mungai has adhered to this trend.

What Uradi is really about?

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Uradi tells a story of Komu, a young man from a village in Nyahururu, who invested his time and energy in books. This choice finally paid off when he was summoned to Nairobi to study at Multimedia University. As one can imagine, a man who has never left his home to explore the world or the country for that matter is quite impressionable. On his first day of school, a stranger in the registration line convinces Komu that he should live outside the campus (apparently when you live in the school’s hostels you have to carry all your belongings with you at all times to avoid theft). As time passes, Komu begins to adapt to his new life which involves classes, basketball, the infamous tradition of exiles from roommates, roommate eating pizza while he eats ugali (unga number two), and of course, “malightskin”.
For a while, things are normal but life suddenly takes a turn when a girl he has a crush on accepts his dinner invitation.
Dressed in borrowed clothes and armored with borrowed cash, Komu heads off to meet his date. Now, the one thing that his friend tells him is not to let the girl choose the restaurant under any circumstances. This advice is not actualized and Komu finds himself in Upperhill with a girl who happens to have expensive taste. After taking one look at the menu, Komu knows he is, well to put it bluntly, fucked. But a man is his tongue, right? He winds up ordering water for himself (after the girl requests for a plate of chicken salad and mushroom soup!). To mask his embarrassing situation, Komu explains that he is on a diet, a basketball diet.
Yes, I know.
Despite his lack of eating, the money he has brought with him is not enough and in the end, he is forced to ask his date for help. Stunned, the girl makes a call and the entire bill is immediately catered for. The mysterious savior comes to their aid yet again and offers to drive both of them back home. Komu, filled with gratitude, thanks this knight in shining armor and begins to alight the car only for the girl to remain unmoving. Did I mention that the girl was riding shotgun leaving Komu to the nibbling night wind in the backseat? Yes, you guessed it. The knight in shining armor is the girl’s sponsor.

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This incident is the fuel for the film’s plot as we see Komu reach his peak point of financial frustration. So far he has not been able to get a job with good pay in a city where everything you want to do requires money. This desperation is swiftly noticed by his roommate who winds up introducing him to uradi. Right from the bat, Komu knows that the job he is signing off on is illegal but, he does it anyway. At first, he is given the role of a delivery guy where he is meant to move sealed packages from point A to B without asking any questions pertaining to the contents of the package.
With time, Komu graduates from a mere delivery man (after he passes the loyalty test) and becomes a building assessor. He learns how to study buildings down to architectural specifics, a task that he performs exceptionally. Upon asking his roommate what exactly they are doing, he is told that they are stealing building designs. Komu believes him. Thanks to his new occupation, Komu can afford a fully furnished house, a car, chic clothes, and providing for his girlfriend. Little does he know that he is actually actively involved in terrorism. Yes, Komu, the young man from a humble home in Nyahururu with big dreams, is playing a vital role in the murder of hundreds of innocent Kenyans…
Soon, he finds himself faced with a question all heroes tackle at one point, would you sacrifice the few people that you love for a majority of people who you have never met?

Critiquely speaking

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Personally, I found the film to be riveting, authentic, and original. The plot is characterized by exciting twists and it is easy to see a piece of yourself in the main character, Komu. I particularly enjoyed how wonderfully Kenyan the film is. The movie creators used a local dialect, sheng, and Kiswahili for most of the scenes, something that is not really done in Kenyan films. The settings/locations selected were also commendable, adding to the movie’s realism. It is hard not to delight in seeing actual police vehicles in the film (including a sketcher).
As for the storyline, the buildup to what the film is really about was executed perfectly. When it starts it’s all about this naïve boy from a village in Nyahururu who is trying to make something of himself in Nairobi. Somehow, the creators of the movie end up telling a story of terrorism, poverty, corruption, and unemployment in the country and how they are all interlinked which is truly ingenious.
There are, however, some plot holes and slight disappointments that are worth mentioning. For instance, Kumo’s roommate suddenly vanishes after convincing Kumo that they should do one last job. The fact that he was talking about both of them should commit to this one last task and exit indicates that he should have showed up with Kumo at the off-the-grid training site. His mysterious disappearance is not addressed at all which is strange given his involvement in the whole operation.

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While I found that most of the cast members were properly assigned their roles, I felt that the Lieutenant was not properly casted. A man of his position is meant to instill fear in his subjects and command situations. If you have watched The Godfather, then you have a rough idea of what I mean. The Lieutenant in Uradi is predictable, loud, and unconvincing. It is hard to fear for Komu’s life which is literally in this man’s hands.
All in all, the film should be on everyone’s must-watch list! The Kenyan film industry is growing every day and this film is a clear masterpiece.

2 thoughts on “Uradi,The Kenyan film movie review.

  1. This article shows a deep understanding of the movie. Though it reflects improvement in the industry with creativity noted too. There is still room for more.

  2. This article shows a deep understanding of the movie. Though it reflects improvement in the industry with creativity noted too. There is still room for more. The plot was well twisted though.

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