Breakthrough Studios highly anticipated “Gold Coast Lounge” finally premiered and indeed has left many spellbound and awed.
In Gold Coast Lounge, a family forged on years of crime is given a 3-week ultimatum to go clean or risk getting clamped down by the new government. John Donkor, the head of the family returns from a brief stint in prison with the intention of changing things. The search for a new face for the night spot begins and past unhealed scars are revealed as John’s lieutenants begin to fight each other over who should take his place in his abscence.
Set in post independent Ghana it captures night life and organised crime in that era whilst detailing the downward spiral of a once feared crime family.
The film’s opening credit sequence along with the opening theme music resembles that of a classic James Bond movie, setting the right tone for the action and thrill that you would experience later on in the film.
On the surface it’s a crime thriller with a romantic twist. But the story cuts deeper than just that. With situations and symbolisms that tackle issues like politics, our independence, trade, commerce as well as socioeconomic empowerment. And these symbolisms are not too hard to identify. The dialogue is intelligently littered with these without ruining the suspension of disbelief that comes with the story.
All the central characters each have their unique backstories and as the story unfolds you get to appreciate how significantly they each contribute to the story told in this film. Showing how well thought out the story really is.
We can’t think of anyone who could have played John Donkor better than Adjetey Anang did in this film. He is firm and cold with an intimidating aura like you would expect from a crime boss. He is lethal just as he his principled showing no favoritisms to any of his lieutenants or henchmen.
Alphonse Menyo who plays the role of Daniel, is also amazing in this film, delivering a performance that he would most likely be remembered for many years to come. Daniel’s narrations in the film in Ga language are strong, clear and almost poetic steering the viewer through every scene and sequence in the film. We get to see his motivations and his fears painted out for us in the narration. Like everyone else in this film, Daniel our protagonist is heavily flawed. Constantly haunted by his past and memories of his father, he is bent of changing things for himself and the people that call Gold Coast Lounge home.
Daniel’s obsession with Naa Adorley begins to disturb his focus and reveals his naivety and inexperience to lead the Gold Coast Lounge. To him, having the lounge and his childhood lover by his side would make everything perfect, forgetting that the seat at the top isn’t always comfortable.
Sultry singer Raquel Ammah equally shines in her role as Naa Adoley / Rose. Her delivery is as good as her divine singing in this film. As the new face of the lounge, she embodies a symbol of beauty, determination and a sign of new beginnings. But she too is flawed and her imperfections reminds us that our individual selfish desires could easily obstruct our collective progress.
For his last performance starring in his own directed film, Pascal Aka manages to steal some of the spotlight in Gold Coast Lounge with the character, Wisdom, the villain in the story. Just like Daniel, he was saved and raised by John Donkor. After loosing his place as heir to Gold Coast Lounge in a boxing match to Daniel, his heart is stained with revenge and would do anything to make sure Daniel’s plans as head of the family doesn’t go through. He pairs well with the ‘femme fatale’ Akatua (Zynnell Zuh) who too isn’t in support of the new, reformed Gold Coast Lounge.
His character represents the unpatriotic Ghanaian who would rather pull others down and willingly sell his pride and heritage while succumbing to the ‘white saviour’.
Pascal chose to tell this intricate story in black and white of-course to complete its noir theme. And even with the absence of full-color the lighting styles used in this film contributed significantly to the feels that each scene intended to convey. Its dark and gruesome yet still manages to be light and hearty at some points just to keep a fair balance.
This a film you can’t watch without getting awed by the sound scoring. It encompasses feels of afro-jazz, highlife and traditional drumming making it an all-round experience of music and culture that represents Ghana and what nightlife was like in that era. From start to end, it is original and captivating. Truly accentuating the tone for the thrill, the action, the whirlwind romance and the artsy cinematography deployed to tell this story.
The film’s 2 hours runtime is truly indulgent with solid acting performances, a great story told with near flawless production elements. GhMoviefreak.com rates this film a well-deserved 8.5/10. The intent and attempt to make a timeless classic that entertains was well delivered on and worthy of all the praise and recognition it receives.
Gold Coast Lounge is avant garde… fusing classic American style noir aesthetics with everyday Ghanaian culture and mystism whilst serving a beautifully packaged drama with enough thrill to keep you at the edge of your seat.
Definitely, a great start for the Ghana Film Industry for 2020. It looks and feels very different from anything we have seen done by a Ghanaian director in a very long time and certainly worth all the laurels it gets. There is no doubt that this film would go a long way to inspire and motivate other creatives in our space to be daring regardless of the many challenges, all for the love film.
Gold Coast Lounge is still showing at the Silverbird Cinemas and hopefully international distribution soon. It is absolutely a must see even for the nonbelievers of the prospects of the Ghana Film Industry. IF you have seen it share with us your thoughts on this brilliant piece in the comments section too. Don’t forget to add your voice to our rating of this film by scoring it between 1 and 5 stars in the rating section below.