Saturday, 18 April 2015
HOT DOCS 2015: CHAMELEON - Review By Greg Klymkiw ***
Dir. Ryan Mullins
Review By Greg Klymkiw
Anas Aremeyaw Anas not only seeks to fight crime, he wants to expose it publicly, shame it and then create enough evidence for the evil-doers to be tossed into prison for a good long time. Anas will go to seemingly absurd lengths to "get his man". He's a master of disguise - so much so, that most people, even some who are close to him, don't even really know what he looks like.
Oh, and he's not a cop.
Anas Aremeyaw Anas is Ghana's most popular tabloid investigative journalist. Working closely with the police, Anas pursues those who have eluded incarceration. He's not only fighting crime, he's getting the story first-hand for his readers.
The film entertainingly follows Anas at every step of the way during his detailed investigation into a notorious human trafficking ring. We get to see him behind the scenes, his collaboration with trusted members of law enforcement and even his speech (in disguise, of course) to a whole whack of admiring kids (which provides a ton of great tidbits about his past successes).
The movie offers a lovely appetizer case; an abominably deviant abortionist coerces women into having sex with him before he performs the fetal extraction. He claims that his highly skilled prodigious schwance-pronging will open up a woman's passageways in a natural fashion prior to the doc diving in and ripping the blob of living flesh from the abortion-seeker. The guy is a total dirt-bag and seeing him taken out is very pleasurable, but the lead-up to his capture is also nail-bitingly suspenseful due to Anas' "bait", a colleague placed in clear danger to help make the bust.
Though the film provides a tiny bit of tut-tutting about journalistic ethics, this (thankfully) takes a decided backseat to Anas' derring-do. The human trafficking case is especially suspenseful, but director Ryan Mullins captures the bust's aftermath superbly; giving us a very real, telling and melancholy exposure to the conflicted feelings of the traffickers' victims.
This is yet another doc that has feature film drama and/or dramatic TV series potential splashed all over it. I don't think this is a bad thing at all. It'll be fun to see if Chameleon becomes a franchise tentpole.
THE FILM CORNER RATING: *** Three Stars
Chameleon will have its Canadian Premiere at HOT DOCS 2015. For schedule and tickets, visit the Hot Docs website HERE.