Emem Isong’s ‘Champagne’ Fails To Pop...

How quickly does a dubious twosome become a ménage à trois and hop from that liaison to attempted homicide? Answer: In just over an hour. It is the movies and apparently they are nothing if not a rush. There is however room for groundwork to make it all cohere. 


Emem Isong’s Champagne forgoes all such cohering inconveniences and the result is like opening a plastic can of margarine and finding maggi cubes. Maggi cubes aren’t bad, but you can’t spread them between bread slices. And importantly: just how did they get in there? A permissive wife, the Champagne of the title, allows hubby Tare (Alexx Ekubo) play the field to provide for the family. 

Player and breadwinner, when Tare receives a red convertible for his exertions, Champagne decides it is time he hangs his boots and return the gift. He does and they plunge into hard times—the type of hard times where the couple retains a rather upscale apartment in South Africa.

Perchance Champagne is hit by billionaire Douglas (Majid Michel) who then hits on her, offering her a job and perks. Tare encourages Champagne; Champagne is reluctant; Douglas is insistent, plying her with things money can buy and—from the way he speaks earnestly, flirtatiously—saliva. 

An exploration of that tension between marital duties and financial necessities could take up the duration of the movie. But not with this attention-deficit fare. Instead we get something else: an unconvincing thriller in romance, near-comic clothing. 

And it seems no one told the actors. Save for South African newcomer Rosemary Zimu playing the title character, the actors look unprepared for the film’s turning point moment. Alexx Ekubo doesn’t take any roles he can’t fail at, powered by charm. 

Majid’s seducer is way too relentless, so much so that the camera obliges his vanity by granting his lips the entire screen in a shot halfway through the movie. Shaky lighting follows shaky storytelling. Characters are bathed with diffuse light and then densely saturated in alternate takes of same scene. 

As this didn’t happen with Majid’s lips, a disclaimer would have worked: No Lips Were Harmed in the Making of this Movie. Still shoddy lighting can’t hide an all too visible blister atop Majid’s upper lip but then, you understand that filming couldn’t wait. 

What Isong’s Champagne must have, it must have now. If only that was the approach to the film’s overall filmmaking... 

Source: TheNetng

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How quickly does a dubious twosome become a ménage à trois and hop from that liaison to attempted homicide? Answer: In just over an hour. It is the movies and apparently they are nothing if not a rush. There is however room for groundwork to make it all cohere. Emem Isong’s Champagne forgoes all such cohering inconveniences and the result is like opening a plastic can of margarine and finding maggi cubes. Maggi cubes aren’t bad, but you can’t spread them between bread slices. And importantly: just how did they get in there? A permissive wife, the Champagne of the title, allows hubby Tare (Alexx Ekubo) play the field to provide for the family. Player and breadwinner, when Tare receives a red convertible for his exertions, Champagne decides it is time he hangs his boots and return the gift. He does and they plunge into hard times—the type of hard times where the couple retains a rather upscale apartment in South Africa. Perchance Champagne is hit by billionaire Douglas (Majid Michel) who then hits on her, offering her a job and perks. Tare encourages Champagne; Champagne is reluctant; Douglas is insistent, plying her with things money can buy and—from the way he speaks earnestly, flirtatiously—saliva. An exploration of that tension between marital duties and financial necessities could take up the duration of the movie. But not with this attention-deficit fare. Instead we get something else: an unconvincing thriller in romance, near-comic clothing. And it seems no one told the actors. Save for South African newcomer Rosemary Zimu playing the title character, the actors look unprepared for the film’s turning point moment. Alexx Ekubo doesn’t take any roles he can’t fail at, powered by charm. Majid’s seducer is way too relentless, so much so that the camera obliges his vanity by granting his lips the entire screen in a shot halfway through the movie. Shaky lighting follows shaky storytelling. Characters are bathed with diffuse light and then densely saturated in alternate takes of same scene. As this didn’t happen with Majid’s lips, a disclaimer would have worked: No Lips Were Harmed in the Making of this Movie. Still shoddy lighting can’t hide an all too visible blister atop Majid’s upper lip but then, you understand that filming couldn’t wait. What Isong’s Champagne must have, it must have now. If only that was the approach to the film’s overall filmmaking...

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