Pascal Aka’s Double Cross has something televisual about it and I’m not just referencing the style opening credits. From the onset, it felt like you had either arrived late to the screening or there was a whole 40 min prologue lying on the cutting floor. Early on, the two central characters, Effie Howard (Ama K. Abebrese) and Danny Frimpong (John Dumelo), meet up at some form of coffee shop. At the centre of their confrontation is the fact that Effie’s fiancé (Adjetey Anang) has apparently been put away for a robbery he had no hand in, a robbery with Danny’s fingerprints all over it.
All this is literally in the first 5 minutes we have no idea what detective work Effie carried out in the background, we just have to go with it and I did. She is looking to prove her fiancé’s innocence by having Danny rob a bank with the same MO so the police realize her man’s innocence. Effie is also a tad greedy since she wants to keep the score from the robbery so she and her hopefully-acquitted-fiancé can start a new life because.
Now this premise is okay, I guess, and it does set up some measure of intrigue but what follows is a woefully egregious turn of events and horridly criminal and lazy character development that made me gag and this seemed to amplify every asinine detail. There are times Double Cross and JR Kuffuor, the film’s writer, were not even pretending to try and I don’t want to promote stereotypes, but Dumelo’s Danny is written as either the nicest and altruistic robber the world has ever seen or the dumbest or most likely both.
He is a capable criminal and we do see him in action in a heist scene, shot with little fuss, but he isn’t giving much to work with elsewhere. Effie is supposed to have something on him that eventually forces him to go along with her plan but motives from both sides never convince or seem within reason. They find themselves alone several times and Danny is such a gentleman he doesn’t even steal a threatening glance. He just goes with Effie’s wishes which is plain drivel.
The characters are out of this world and for once, I was praying some humour to make them a shade believable but alas we don’t always get what we want even it’s simple character development. We get to spend some time with Effie’s fiancé in what must be the laxest maximum penitentiary known to man. There is no frisking of visitors, there is no hint of a “no touching rule” and one of the guards was wearing friggin Birkenstocks – BIRKENSTOCKS!
Anang looks nothing like a man who is distraught by wrongful imprisonment and he barely passes as a kid being visited in boarding school for the first time but I guess that is to be expected when your prison looks like a hotel. He has “where’s the check” written all over his face and has his characters spends most of the time unaware of what was going on the outside. I even feel like betting he had no idea what was going on in the rest of the script.
I struggle to find good things to say about this film; the direction is ponderous, characters lacking plausibility let alone depth and a plot resembling the typical Ghanaian road but hey, it was only 90 minutes – that must count for something. Halfway through the film it stops pretending to be heist drama almost like the director got tired of the crime narrative and slams the romantic innuendo card in our face. The film essentially pitches a premise but does not set it up or build and execute it with any craft. It’s never a good thing to tell an audience to shut down whilst seeing a film but like drugs and alcohol, some say it does help.