Game of Two Review

AKA: N/A
Genre: Romance/Drama
Year Released: 2022
Distributor: The Critics Company
Origin: Nigeria
Running Time: 7 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: PG
Related Films/Series: N/A
For Fans Of: Timothee, She’s Gotta Have It, Chase, Somewhere in the Middle
Notes:
-The Game of Two is streaming for free on YouTube.
Fun Facts:
-Director Godwin Josiah would eventually work on films outside of The Critics Company include Juju Stories and King of Boys: The Return of the King.

-JJ Abrams of all people actually donated filmmaking gear to The Critics Company in 2020.

-Kaduna State is the home area where The Critics Company are from. I mentioned that it’s in Northern Nigeria and the capital is Kaduna (obviously). Some other people associated with this area include singer Joe El, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, polo player/photographer Aisha Ahmad Suleiman, and Nigerian-British wrestler Warren Banks (whom you might know from my review of You Are Cordially Invited) was born there before his family moved to England.

I finally reviewed something from this year! Being timely with the newest releases has never been my strong suit, but what makes this example awesome is that I did something I’ve never done before: review something that came out the same week it was released. Wow, that is very impressive for me is I can just be self-congratulatory for just a second. Sorry, it’s such a rarity for me. This will also be the 4th review I’ve done involving the Nigerian upstart filmmaking collective The Critics Company. I’ve enjoyed the things I’ve seen including some of their one-minute videos on their YouTube channel. Even with limited resources from their humble beginnings, they can make some creative films and have good special effects to boot. Timothee really improved in that regard and when I saw they had a new short film, I had to check it out.

Will this be another win for The Critics?

Game of Two is about the life of a woman named Alice, but is narrated by her big sister Monica. For the span of seven years, Alice has been serial dating with so many guys to no avail. Heartbreak and sadness couldn’t stop her from finding Mr. Right though. Alice does find potential suitors by the name of Chief who is obsessed with finances and another guy named Bolu behind her back. In that time period, Alice has also been writing a thesis about her dating experiences with different men. Things do take a turn as one of the people she’s seeing has some dark secrets and also has dirt on her, too.

What’s this? A Critics Company film that ISN’T a sci-fi flick? [cue dramatic music] I know I’m using humor, but it’s actually a positive even if I’m not normally a fan of romantic works. There is a very brief element with special effects later on in the film, but everything else looked quite normal for a Critics work. I’m glad that collective has been expanding to different genres and filmmaking styles while still feeling like a Critics production with the filming style and what few effects were there. Even then there was certainly creativity like the rewind montage effect shown early on to go back to 7 years before the point of the story, the video message footage, and the various transitions used. There is also fridge brilliance with the plot and the main character. Think about her name being Alice and how she has all these delusions of romance. Couldn’t one say that her serial dating and thesis is a case of her being in wonderland of sorts? I even chuckled a bit when Monica tells her that she can’t just be in love with a guy with she met for about a week since this isn’t the first movie example of a big sister warning her little sister for going into romance too fast. Yes, I was referring to Elsa if I wasn’t so obvious. Haha! One could argue that it’s the most “normal” Critics film, but that’s not a bad thing at all. I’m glad they were able to work with different genres. The plot twist was certainly something I didn’t see coming. Okay, I figured there would be some trouble, but I didn’t realize it got to that level. It surprisingly made sense even with the short length of the film. I know this isn’t the only Critics project let alone Nigerian movie I watched that did this, but I have to applaud the depiction of a middle-class and upper-middle class environment. I’ve been a sucker for those depictions to the point where it becomes a favorite trope of mine when they show Nigeria or any African country that isn’t some war zone, poverty-stricken area, a jungle, or only showing a bunch of native animals in a savanna/safari setting. Major plus to them for doing this and not making it too obvious.

This particular game could fix up the rules here and there. I did notice some audio inconsistencies with the conversations between Alice and Monica. Sometimes it got louder suddenly and there was a bit of static for a millisecond at times. The ending did have a huge twist, but it did come off a bit rushed in execution even if it was far tamer from a content perspective than some of the previous works I’ve seen (not that it’s a bad thing). I did think the Chief was more of a one-note character with him being obsessed with money and bashing men who are jobless while calling out Alice for previously being into in the past. The thesis aspect of the plot was a nice touch, but I would’ve liked to know a bit more of what she was writing. Even some excerpts or soliloquy could have helped and could provide insight to her mental state. While I give credit to The Critics for being one of the most resourceful film collectives bar none, there was one choice of props for a major plot twist that I found to be unintentionally hilarious. I’ll do my best to minimize spoilers, but a character puts a device on a computer to hack and extract information. I did a double take and saw that it was a modified floppy disk on the laptop. For any of my younger viewers who have no clue what I just said, a floppy disk was a memory storage device that was a thing back in the 80s and 90s with computers before flash drives existed. Seriously, do a Google search on them and you will be shocked to see how a 2-3 MB storage device would be considered MASSIVE back then when your flash drives or smartwatch holds exponentially more. It was funny to me noticing what the prop was that Gen-Z and younger may not notice, but was painfully obvious to see not just with so-called “older people” but those who were 90s kids who remember seeing them in electronic stores or computer labs during their elementary school years. The plot was good, but I noticed those particular faults.

Game of Two was a good addition to the Critics’ catalog. This was a great change of pace especially from a genre standpoint. They definitely put effort with the filmmaking, acting, and being creative with this short story. There was a good amount of creativity even with the more realistic setting compared to their previous works. However, parts of it were rushed and I thought there should’ve been a better choice of props for the plot twist involving the hacking. This is still worth watching for anyone and I still want to see other things at this Nigerian film collective comes ups with next.

Adjustable Point System:
-Add 1-2 points if you’re a fan of The Critics Company.
-Add 1 point if you like atypical romantic dramas.
-Subtract 1-2 points if you like prefer longer films.
-Subtract 2-3 points if you like more in-depth plots.

Pros:
-Creative genre choices
-Very good cinematography and production
-Shows the Africa that’s rarely shown in Western media

Cons:
-Rushed ending
-Some audio production inconsistencies
-The floppy disk prop

Final Score: 7/10 points

Content Advisory: Game of Two
is much tamer than some other works of The Critics Company. The serial dating aspect is surprisingly innocuous and never gets sexual in anyway. The worst thing is a scene involving a gunshot that fades to black which is very different from their other works where violence was shown. I’d say this should be fine for all but the youngest audiences.

-Curtis Monroe

All photos are property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Game of Two is the property of The Critics Company. The screenshot is from YouTube and is the property of The Critics Company.

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