Kenyan award winning movie “Nairobi Half Life” (2012) directed by David “Tosh” Gitonga and starring Joseph Warimu and Nancy Wanjiku Karanja among others.
Mwas (Joseph Warimu) is a young man making his life selling video movies and acting the part in order to sell them. He dreams of being an actor and gets half an opportunity when a theatre troupe comes to his village.
On the way to Nairobi he is forced to do some chores by his cousin and gets promptly robbed the moment he enters into Nairobi. Forced into the streets he is arrested for a day and in jail meets a gang leader who provides him job.
They do small odd jobs like stealing car parts. Mwas meanwhile gives an audition for a play at the National Theatre and lands the job. In stealing they graduate from stealing car parts to stealing cars themselves.
The movie shows the dark underbelly of Nairobi crime life where crime is common, gangsters are hand in glove with the policemen, there is corruption, violence and brutality galore. Gitonga has deftly woven the plot nicely moving on two parallels – the crime life and the theatre life, the only common thread being Amina who is the girlfriend of one of the gangsters but who starts loving Mwas.
Cinematography is quite breathtaking in the movie and both Joseph Warimu and Nancy Karanja have played their parts quite well. Its quite a realistic movie in that sense almost like Salaam Mumbai of Mira Nair. IMDB 7/10