The movie 27 guns was released last year but had not received much traction on social media as many had not watched it. This, however, changed when it was aired on a number of local TV stations on the days leading to the 33rd anniversary of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
However, the movie directed by Natasha Karugire Museveni and Sharpe Ssewali, has garnered a lot of backlash on social media with many saying it was below their expectations.
Here we compile some of the reviews from online critics.
“Someone said, before the film came out, that it was going to be one of those, “look how cool my daddy is,” films. I argued that he was biased by the current political landscape. How right he was!
The story was really hard to follow. It jumped from one thing to another with very unclear transitions. Before you know what this scene is about, they have moved on to another scene that is completely unrelated to anything you have so far seen. No build up, no follow up. Maybe the story was too big to be compressed…that would explain the 3hr long run time…or wrong choice of strategy, but if I came from somewhere else in the world and knew nothing of the NRA story, I would not have understood a thing,” Keryeko’s post read in part.
She also argued that the film skipped many key moments in the NRM story. Characters either only spoke of such moments, in passing, or the movie only showed viewers the aftermath of these events.
“Saleh was brought back to camp on a stretcher, having been shot. Both arms were badly injured. That shooting was a missed opportunity. Very little of what happened back at the camp was significant to the story.”
sQoop’s film critic Andrew Kaggwa had this to say, “I actually thought the film was meant to answer the following; where did they get the 27 guns from? What is the story of each gun, were some stolen from the army or they were privately owned by individuals, what was the condition of many of these 27 guns? And since they had 27 guns and about 42 men, what were the other men doing say in the raids where they did not have guns to engage. Who was allowed to hold each of the 27 guns? What was the immediate impact of the 27 guns?”
Kasule Douglas Benda highlighted what he termed as the movie’s ‘biggest ignored blunders’
He says that some of the movie scenes featured MTN and Airtel kiosks and posters, blue stripped taxis manufactured in 2002, White men with smart phones at Entebbe airport, Michael Jordan NBA T-shirt with three rings, “Wenger out ” poster on roadside, a rolex stand, sports betting shops, a fully tarmacked Hoima road and a 2000 model silver x- trail car with UAW number plate.
“This is lacking of paying very close attention to details which was supposed to be the case for a story based on a true life events and in a period 30yrs ago. Where and how was all the money spent?” Kasule questioned.
Former Obsessions member Roni Mulindwa blamed the weaknesses of 27 Guns on the movie’s script writer. He says that basing on the memories he had of Museveni’s victory and what he saw in the movie, he (Mulindwa) could have done a better job.
“This movie #27guns was meant to make us fall in love with sevo once again but unfortunately did so little to that effect. I was about 5years old when the war ended and Museven took power and i vividly remember two scenes I will never forget they somehow glued to my mind to this day.
I remember a night, could have been the night they won. My mother holding my small hand and walking in the middle of the road that’s Entebbe Road we stayed at Namasuba by then, she was shouting and jubilating and dancing and moving towards Namasuba stage where a lot of people had gathered and had put a big fire using car tires shouting dancing and singing. I had not seen my mother this happy before, being a single mother I had only seen her toil to feed us and always working hard. So it was either the thrill of walking right in the middle of a highway that excited me so much or my mom’s over whelming happiness and that’s the first time I had the name Museveni the man, the savior!
The feelings I got, the love for sevo and the excitement is what I expected to get out of watching the #27guns I didn’t! So, it’s not the actors, it’s not the picture or anything, it’s the way the story teller took us on this journey that failed to captivate us. Give me half of that budget and access to sevo and all the remaining comrades of his and I listen to their ordeal and I will give you this story from an angle that will make you shade a tear cry and fall in love with the 41 brave and gallant men with only 27guns who left the comforts of their beds and homes to go into the bush to fight for a cause they believed in without knowing if they will ever come back alive to enjoy the freedom and kind of democratic and peaceful country they envisioned.”
Meanwhile most viewers were not impressed with Arnold Mubangizi, the lead character that portrayed President Museveni.
Keryeko said, “Portraying a character that still lives is hard but it’s also very easy for your preparation. With all the videos of his speeches at our disposal, surely, he could have done better. Museveni is very expressive, funny and uses hand gestures a lot. I only saw some hand gestures and only in the first 30mins of the movie. And that accent… Since I was a young warthog, we always imitated that accent. How, surely how did the actor portraying him not know to get his accent right? At least try? He did look like a proper knock off of Museveni in the 80s. As far as physical appearance is concerned, that was a perfect pick.”
But Diana Kamuntu Museveni (also daughter to Museveni) was praised for fully owning the role of her mother and First lady Janet Museveni.
“Diana Kamuntu’s acting in 27 Guns is sooooo nice, you want to think it was Kataha herself. She owned the character and just ran with it. A few glitches here and there, but you bat an eyelid and let it pass. I mean, she’s not Angelina Jolie, duh. She did well,” posted Edward Nimusiima, an arts critic.
But the real winner was Sezi Jedidiah Nuwewenka Salim who was hailed for breathing life into the character of Salim Saleh. It was no surprise to discover that he actually is a son to Salim Saleh.
“Sezi Nuwewenka, fresh talent. I think 27 Guns was his debut and I will say, he is one of the new good ones to hit our screens. He played Salim Saleh. You could tell he was ready, he knew his character well and did not miss his moments. One will argue that he has grown up watching his father so he knew him through and through and could easily depict him but I could dare some of you to re-enact your parents and you will have no idea where to start. I am looking forward to seeing this guy in more productions,” one critic said.
Meanwhile others were wondering why some characters that they consider significant in the NRA liberation struggle did not feature.
Kasheija Charles: ITS POLITICED, I didn’t hear besigye and muntu actors in that film, and it’s so boring
Jacob Nahurira Kazoora: Whoever has fallen out with the regime is not reflected or mentioned. E.g sejusa, Dr. Bata Is mentioned and not Besigye, Mbabazi nowhere. Not balanced and overrated
But it was not all bad. Mwebaze Mugasho Ambrose defended the movie saying it was simply hard to compress a 5 years story.
“As I watched the #27Guns, it’s a good movie to watch, I know it’s not easy to cut a 5years story into 2:30 hours, I must appreciate the fact that our movie industry is growing, George Stanley Nsamba can testify. I was happy to see my friend Kainerugaba Adam as among the guys who were sent to tell HE Obote about the Rebel Leader’s ideology,” Mwebaze posted.
Jonah Kirabo: “People just want to criticize everything Museveni. 27 guns, the movie, is actually a good one per Ugandan standards. This is a good movie.