Imperial Blue (2019) Movie Review

Imperial Blue – Culture Clashing Thriller

Director: Dan Moss

Writer: Dan Moss, David Cecil (Screenplay)

Starring: Nicolas Fagerberg, Rehema Nanfuka, Esteri Tebandeke, Andrew Benon Kibuuka, Paul Dewdney

Plot: Hugo Winter a roguish American drug smuggler, travels to Uganda in an attempt to export a large amount of Bulu, a sacred herb that grants the user visions of their future. Upon arriving in Kampala, he soon discovers that his only means of achieving this is through two sisters with competing agendas, born-again Kisakye and rebellious Angela, who come from the remote village of Makaana where the Bulu is grown. As they lead Hugo deeper into the jungle and further into their web of deceit, it is unclear if his drug-addled prophecies are helping his quest or clouding his future.


Tagline – In Africa, the future lies

Runtime: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Imperial Blue starts when drug addict and dealer Hugo Winter (Fagerberg) sees his latest deal get busted in India, leaving him with just one pouch of a mysterious new drug known as Bulu, after he takes it, he learns it sees into the future. Back in England, he needs to make up for losing the deal, offering the man he owes a chance to get Bulu, which means he will have to travel to Uganda.

In Uganda, Kisakye (Tebandeke) and Angela (Nanfuka) two sisters who have lost their home and gone separate ways meet Hugo, both offering him a chance to get Bulu, but this only sees him getting caught up n the middle of the bigger battle in the village, turning to the very product he wants to sale, to try and survive.

Thoughts on Imperial Blue

Characters & Performances – Hugo Winter is a drug addict and dealer, he travels the world to find his latest fix and deal, which sees him in India, almost getting busted and losing his latest deal, forcing him to return with nothing but a new powder, Bulu, a drug that shows him the future, in England he is not accepted around his son and forced to make up for losing the money a bigger dealer has lent him. Hugo continues his travels by going to Uganda in the search for more Bulu, something he believes will clear his debts, but here he will learn of a new level of violence and a new way of thinking, or he will face being left there with nothing to take home. Nicolas Fagerberg brings us this character and shows us just how his character’s life is spiralling out of control, isn’t afraid to put his foot in it and the worst possible time and has become reliant on the drugs. Kisakye is the born again Christian that is willing to help Hugo back at the village, she knows the money on offer could help her family have a home again, she does get closer than she thought to him, which does make thing more complicated for her beliefs and the battle to stop her sister making the mistakes in life. Angela is the rebellious sister that has mixed with the local gangs, finding her way towards drugs, she is drawn towards Hugo for her own gains, despite her sister trying to help her. Esther Tebandeke and Rehema Nanfuka are both wonderful in these two performances, showing both sides of the life they could have fallen on.

StoryImperial Blue has a story which follows a drug dealer & addict as he goes in search for a new drug to help pay off his own debts, one which will take him to Uganda, where he must learn a new culture if he has any chance of getting out with the drugs. When we look into the story of travelling somewhere new for drugs, it doesn’t offer much new of the desperate hunt for something new, but does put the highlight on the rising gangs within a developing country, showing how easily people can lose everything and only turn two ways, greed or poverty. Hugo’s side to the story does show us how the dealers and addicts will use whatever they want to get the upper hand on anyone who could help them make money.

ThemesImperial Blue does take us into a crime world, one which will move across three continents, from Asia, Europe and Africa, showing how the different people are drawn into the world and will end up making the mistakes once they are trapped in them. This does help use the settings to show how the characters operate in each of these different countries.

Final Thoughts Imperial Blue is a thriller that will show us just how the clashes of culture can only make the drug war more intense.



ABC Film Challenge – Catch-Up 2020 – H – Hooking Up (2020) Movie Review

Director: Nico Raineau

Writer: Nico Raineau, Lauren Schacher (Screenplay)

Starring: Brittany Snow, Sam Richardson, Anna Akana, Jordana Brewster, Vivica A Fox, Amy Pietz, Shaun J Brown

Plot: After he receives a new cancer diagnosis and she is fired from her job as a sex columnist, Bailey and Darla take a road trip that forces them to get intimate with their issues, as well as each other.


Tagline – There’s more to love than sex.

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Hooking Up starts as we meet gym employee and cancer survivor Bailey Brighton (Richardson) who is in the middle of break up and the tragic news, the cancer has returned, he meets sex addict Darla Beane (Snow) who has just lost her job for her behaviour and decides to make a story of her own sexual history, with Bailey joining her on the journey, replaying her history.

As the journey unfolds, the two start to learn about their pasts and how they have lived different lives along the way, but now they could help each other in the future.

Thoughts on Hooking Up

Characters – Darla is a sex addict who writes articles on sex for a magazine, she is assigned therapy which she isn’t happy about and her actions at work see her getting fired, in her own attempt to get her job back, she looks to go on a replay of her own history with a cancer victim, only to learn it is her own pain of love, which is causing more problems for her. Bailey is a mild-mannered gym employee who has beaten cancer, he is going through a break up and has discovered the cancer has returned, causing him to question everything and agree to join Darla on her journey, stepping outside his own comfort zone for the first time in years. Liz is the ex-girlfriend that has broken up with Bailey after encouraging him to look to date other people, she will always support him and she does remain close with him. We meet the parents and the people who are supporting the two through their problems along the way.

PerformancesBrittany Snow does bring as a character we wouldn’t expect to see from her, here one that does have her problems that covered up with her confidence. Sam Richardson steals the show here as a gentle kind characters that has been lost most of his life, which is what is causing him more problems along the way. The rest of the cast do give us strong performance throughout, understanding their characters in the world of the leads.

StoryThe story here follows two people who are both in need of help, one is a sex addict who has spiralled out of control, while the other is a cancer sufferer who isn’t sure how to deal with his own future, not knowing what the future will hold, who end up going on a journey together. The story will give us a look at self-discovery from people who will need to start taking life a different direction, either from needing supporting through cancer, who addiction. It does show us how important it is to ask for help and let people in to support you, even if we do go down a misleading road at times.

ComedyThe comedy comes from seeing a lot of Bailey’s reactions to hearing Darla’s stories, the two have had different lives, which will see more reactions coming from them.

SettingsThe film is a road trip movie, it doesn’t hit any of the major locations you would expect to see around the different cities, which shows us more of a normal life that Darla has been on.


Scene of the Movie – 1-year later.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t seem to have a friend in Bailey’s life, even after everything he has been through, you would like to think he would have had a support bubble around him.

Final Thoughts Hooking Up is a comedy that highlights the importance of friendship and relationships in life.