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.
Story – Imperial 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.
Themes – Imperial 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.