Remember that feeling when you were young where you were ready to grow up and discover the world? Well, it didn’t take long for us to realize that it wouldn’t be as easy as we thought. Some of us might have succeeded in it while some of us are still trying, just like Wale (pronounced “Wa-Lay”), the leading character of Wale, the first film from director Barnaby Blackburn. Blackburn made his directional debut a breath-taking thriller with an excellent story and captivating acting performances.
Sometimes life isn’t fair and 18-year-old Wale (Raphel Famotibe) had to find that out in the most horrible way by serving time at Aylesbury; the young offenders’ institution. Now he’s finally out and living with his mum trying to get his life back on track. With a lot of passion and technical skills, Wale is selling himself as a mobile mechanic, repairing cars. However, starting an enterprise isn’t so easy when you’re a young, black male with a criminal past. You should never give up because one day, everything will fall into place. That’s exactly what Wale thought when a fancy businessman O’Brian (Jamie Sives) wants him to repair his car. Their meeting will change Wale’s life more than he could ever imagine. His dark past catches up with him when Wale finds an awful and terrible present in the back of the car…
Wale has every aspect in becoming something much more than just a short film. It has such a flawless and balanced story. The suspense begins from the moment Wale meets O’Brian, the tension rises and rises and it never becomes predictable. We didn’t see that ending coming and neither will you. There are some high-speed cars involved as well as fights and blood but the action doesn’t take over from the story.
We don’t understand why leading actor Raphel Famotibe hasn’t got his very well-deserved acting breakthrough yet. He shone in television series such as Casualty and Millie Inbetween and soon we will be able to see him in Possum, another thriller film with a blood horror side to it. Famotibe is captivating, fascinating and incredibly human with his acting as the young delinquent wants to turn his life around. despite it not being easy. Jamie Sives (Hard Sun, Wild Rose) is thrilling, mysterious and enigmatic as O’Brian, the man with the dark and shady past. Behind O’Brian’s fancy house and multi-million dollar car lies an obscure and hidden secret. One that literally should have been buried.
Wale screened at film festivals such as the Bend Film Festival in Oregon, the Bronzelens in Atlanta, Aesthetica Short Film Festival and many more. You should definitely watch it because of the suspense of the sensational story, the astonishing performance of the cast and the electrifying musical score from Luis Almau.
Liselotte Vanophem, Film and Celebrity Reporter – Just Celebrity Magazine