Welcome to our new Netflix Hidden Gems series! We know you’re tired of scrolling through Netflix and seeing the same old blockbusters in your suggestions. It’s now common knowledge that Netflix doesn’t promote much of its content, so we’re here to help. In this series, we shall review great yet lesser-known films on Netflix, starting with movies from the African continent.
First on our list is Loukman Ali’s The Girl in the Yellow Jumper. This tense 2020 mystery-thriller was the first Ugandan movie to be added to the Netflix catalogue. It is critically acclaimed in East Africa but still not yet widely known to audiences around the world. Let’s dig in.
The Story and Characters
The story begins with Jim, a seemingly ordinary man asleep in front of a TV that’s playing a news report of a serial killer called the “Cigarette Butt Killer”. A figure in a gas mask and a yellow jumper quietly breaks into the room and drugs Jim. The story takes us on an unexpected journey of a kidnapping, a string of murders and discovering who the real villains are.
This film was an exercise in tension and pacing, truly earning its title as a thriller. The complex narrative makes it a perfect watch for those of you thirsty to figure out a short but engaging mystery. Clocking in at 1 hour 20 minutes long, it’s just long enough to keep you hooked. Be warned; this is not a light movie for casual viewing, so only watch it if you plan to pay attention. There are a few brief scenes of graphic violence, just in case you’re wary of blood.
One of the biggest criticisms of African films is having one-dimensional storylines and characters. That’s not the case for The Girl in the Yellow Jumper. The characters seem straightforward at first, but the more you watch you’ll see the complexities between each one. Compelling performances from Maurice Kirya, Michael Wawuyo Jr., Rehema Nanfuka and Oyenbot will have you rooting for multiple sides by the time the movie ends.
The narrative is littered with foreshadowing and red herrings. The puzzle pieces don’t fully click together until the very end, which makes for a satisfying finale.
The Visuals and Sound
Loukman and his team really brought in the big guns when it comes to cinematography. The lighting and tone of the film reflect old-school 90s films, while still being set in the present day. Much of the movie takes place on a highway and we are given beautiful shots of Ugandan nature throughout. I appreciated the creative camera angles during the fight scenes and kidnapping scenes.
The music choices were very appropriate, incorporating contemporary Ugandan music sounds. The sound design elevated the visuals to create the distinctive ambience of every scene.
The movie also included some refreshing animated scenes, something hard to pull off in the thriller genre. In this way, the heavy tones of death and abuse were balanced out with a few lighter scenes that elaborated on Ugandan traditions.
Admittedly, there was a point at which the transition between shots could have been smoother. However, the quality of the filming and editing was really remarkable for a production done on a shoestring budget with multiple interruptions.
The Bottom Line
We definitely recommend giving The Girl in the Yellow Jumper a try. While there could be room for improvement in the production and a few character portrayals, it’s a solid film nonetheless. Anyone in the East African film industry can tell you how hard it is to get a feature film on the global stage. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this movie, and it paid off.
Also Read: 5 Films In 2022 With Creative Concepts