Call 112: You know this was a missed call right?

06:28 by Kaggwa Andrew
It was supposed to take us into the dark world of human organ trafficking, though, for some reason, Joseph Ssebagala’s Call 112 was just a missed one.
He however needs kudos for daring a one location one place film, they are always as challenging and as the result was seen, not even his cast was up to it.
Well the film opens with clean credits displayed by an operating type writer and a series of still pictures around Makerere University – the biggest problem with the opening was that it added nothing to our anxiety since it wasn’t saying anything.
He made matters worse by introducing the lead character Farooq Mutebi heading to the loos to catch a smoke, which in my perspective easily passes as the weakest opening scene of all time – it doesn’t communicate, tell us a thing about the character and neither does it carry the story to any place.
I believe if a script writer has to give a person at least two minutes on our screens, that person has to be communicating, and if they are the first two minutes, then you are of great importance – Sebagala starts by gifting himself with the very first lines of the film after he meets Mutebi (Paul) smoking in the loos, they share the cigarette and talk and that was all – he was simply an extra.
Yes, Ssebagala chose to gift his first shots, minutes and dialogue to an extra that added nothing to the story - whatever happened to the importance of the first scene!
The writers manage to put up a great capture, in a tax where Paul and his sister Cathy (Fausta Nanziri) are dragged to end up in cages with a psychopath, Javah (Jaakira Suudi) as the watchman/surgeon.
A scene from Call 112

The entire scene of sitting in a half empty taxi that decides to pass by possible customers on the road was nice, though, considering the fact that Call 112 was aimed at showing us whether the police can act, at least according to the director, we were looking at seeing some of these faces bounce back in case of an investigation.
The suspense was on point, the story idea too was on point but the execution fell flat – Ssebagala failed to convince us that there was an existing human organ trafficking problem in the society he created. He managed to capture Paul and Cathy but that was all, the film fails to shift from that spot yet this is where they had to pull their weight.
We expected to see more than two victims that are all in the waiting line for their organs to be scooped. We had to get the feel of this evil by seeing actual organs either in transit or being bought – who was Javah and company working for? Where did they take these organs after scooping them from the unsuspecting Ugandans?
We had to both feel and smell the fear through the screen which never happened.
But that wasn’t all, Ssebagala still had factual issues – presenting Javah as the purported surgeon was wrong, scooping is done by actual doctors not deadlocked lunatics and it’s done in heavily equipped but illegal places.
Unless the Javah character had a medicine background which i think they had to make us aware of because seriously, no one just gets off a beer bottle in the middle of a cheap meal they are preparing to scoop people's organs - NO One.
Call 112 had many rich subplots to deal with especially with a topic and story they set out to tell though unfortunately they told none, instead of exposing what could be going on in the dark business of organ trafficking or the splendid nature the way Ugandan police handles a case from the time they receive a call to the time they find a culprit, Ssebagala chose an easier path of placing a person in a cage with cameras getting his differed angles..really??
The only time we see the police was at the end and they lasted less than a minute, yet they were supposed to play the pivot role.
If that wasn’t enough, he places his captives in a room with a mobile phone and keys to their cages that is conveniently placed within view.
Generally Ssebagala’s Call 112 is a very desperate attempt to make a full length film out of something he barely had an idea of, the script lost its way and so did the actors that at the end of the day we had a collection of scenes that had nothing to say.
Of course the film is a distasteful follow up to the director’s highly acclaimed Reform in aspects of light, sound and picture quality – it’s not one of those films we shall want to mention while telling foreign friends about the amazing creativity of Ugandan film makers.
It’s just a call that didn’t make its destination – a missed call.


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