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Entertainment Fri, 30 May 2003

Who Killed Okomfo Anokye

ONE gruesome murder, two different suspects, two sets of investigators; and one big ball-game of who finds the culprit. That about sums up what the film Who Killed Okomfo Anokye? is all about.

The film presents a test case for the criminal justice system and plays out in three main angles. First, two women and their lawyer are eager to see the suspected murderer of their loved one put behind bars at all costs; second, a traditional ruler and his team of elders strive to get to the bottom of a mind-boggling murder case in their locality; and finally, the hope and expectation of a falsely accused person that justice would prevail.

The plush suburbs of Kumasi and its environs provide the setting for the 90-minute film directed by Harry Laud. It strongly depicts some unique aspects of Ghana‘s indigenous culture, such as traditional modes of solving crime, and the essence of communal living in various scenes.

The film also highlights how suspects are supposedly treated when kept in police custody by showing the detainee having undergone torture treatment.

The story goes somewhat like this: After Anokye’s murder, Offei Twumasi (Harry Laud), a close pal of Anokye’s senior brother who was seen in the area at the time of the murder, is arrested by the police for interrogation and subsequently prosecuted for the offence in a court of law.

Meanwhile back at the village where the murder occurred, the traditional ruler and his team of elders are making frantic efforts to prosecute their own suspect — Opanyin Kwadwo, a straight-talking village cocoa farmer who had earlier threatened to kill the deceased in a bitter dispute over the ownership of a cocoa farm.

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Whereas the cocoa farmer plays hide and seek with the Omanhene and his team, Offei refuses to co-operate in police investigations concerning the murder.

While all police evidence point to Offei as being the culprit, all evidence back at the village point to Opanyin Kwadwo as the murderer.

The freeze technique is used a number of times to relate some of the movie’s captivating moments, and flashbacks appear at various points in the movie to provide link ups with the first part of the production.

Another rare thing the movie does is to feature a private lawyer hired by the family which has lost a relation to prosecute a criminal case. In Ghana, the usual practice is for the police or a state attorney to prosecute a murder case, being a criminal offence.

Majority of the actors play their roles to perfection, and the due diligence paid to costuming, draws a marked difference between the ‘city’ and ‘village’ characters.

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The adeptness with which Allan Cash executes his role as cocoa farmer and murder suspect must be commended. He succeeds in creating enough suspense as regards who committed the crime, and maintains this nonchalant attitude throughout.

Esther Yirenkyi puts up one of her best acts in this movie as Amanobea, the wife of the deceased. She portrays to the precise, the mannerisms, language, and limited knowledge of a rural woman.

Harry Laud aptly relates the level of mistrust that a falsely accused person has for everybody around him, but overplays his ‘American burger’ role by too frequently repeating the phrase “d**n it”.

Good old Katawere has still not lost his steam from the Akan drama days. Here he plays the Omanhene with mastery, and asserts the Chief’s traditional judicial role as head of the traditional court. Prince Yawson provides comic relief as Akosua Serwaa, the harebrained house boy.

Jayne Buckman-Owoo plays the astute and firm Lawyer Vanessa Koranteng, who represents Amanobea in court. Who Killed Okomfo Anokye II is a Harry Laud production.

Source: Graphic ShowBiz