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average rating is 3 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Jul 6, 2024

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Ben Owusu
Written by:
Ben Owusu, Anna Hanson Segbefia, Dee William
Ama K. Abebrese, Adjetey Anang

There’s something to be said for the modest police drama, something which, on the big screen at least, has struggled to find its place over the past decade. They proliferated the 90s and 2000s, and in the early 2010s there was the excellent ‘End of Watch’, but lately due to a combination of the streaming era and large, widespread anti-police sentiment, they have largely been consigned to the small screen. Shows such as ‘Line of Duty’ and ‘Mare of Easttown’ have been critically acclaimed and entertained audiences massively, but ‘The Storm', whilst far from perfect, is a nice reminder of what happens when a competent police drama is depicted on film.


Set in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, ‘The Storm’ depicts a nation in the midst of a crisis, with rising rates of crime that reaches right to the very top of government and threatens to undermine the whole of Ghanian democracy. After a long, extended opening credits montage, which is a little corny but moreover feels fun and is reminiscent of films and tv shows of twenty years ago, we see an armed robbery of a bank. One robber had a white animal mask the other curiously decides to go unmasked, a baffling decision consistent with a series of other details throughout the film which make no sense. The robbery is brutal, resulting in the death of one man, and the wounding of a heavily pregnant woman. Whilst the film excels in portraying the brutality, the action lacks a spark.


This is further evident later in the film, where the action scenes feel poorly choreographed and lack the energy needed to keep them engaging. It is only in these moments that Ben Owusu’s direction drops from its otherwise high standards, failing to bring life to the screen whereas in the scenes that deal simply with people talking or giving orders he creates intrigue and tension using shadows and lighting. Indeed, the film is at it’s best when it morphs into a political thriller dictated by conversations between people - be they politicians, police officers or activists - talking with increasing more emotion in rooms.


The focus of the film is on the two detectives Lynn, played by Ama K. Abebrese, and Danso, played by Adjetey Anang, and their attempts not only to resolve the bank robbery, but also to expose crime and corruption in Accra, which has been brought to the forefront of public attention by the rise in violence against women and children. It is shocking to see the deaths of women and children spoken about and depicted so brutally, and then for characters to talk about them as ‘rather unfortunate’, yet this underpins the film’s wider message, that such violence is not uncommon in many Western African nations and that it is a problem in urgent need of addressing in order to see any sort of progress with regards to women’s rights.


‘The Storm’ is a police drama and political thriller that thrives when it sticks to the talking and falls when it attempts action. Nevertheless, it is a highly competent film with a potent backdrop and message behind it.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Indie Feature Film
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