A thirteen-year-old boy in Malawi beats the odds. Don’t you just love stories like these? He invents an unconventional way to save his family and village from the famine which dubs him The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind. However, this wasn’t a walk in the park.
It’s not often we get excited about a streaming service releasing a movie. They never seem to do as well as theatrical releases. With the directing debut of actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, I was spellbound to see if he would join the list of actors who made masterpieces on the directors’ seat. In addition, join the list of amazing Netflix movies like my personal favourite, Idris Elba’s “Beast Of No Nation”.
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind definitely lived up to my expectations. Novice Kenyan actor Maxwell Simba plays William. He’s a boy whose passion for physics and engineering leads him to save his village from pending cataclysm. Keen on community service, William fixes his fixes electronic gadgets for his fellow villagers for free. He does this around Wimbe, a small farming village in Malawi. He also lives here with his family who barely manages to get by due to their unreliable income.
When famine hits the little village, things go from bad to worse for William and family. To add on, there is political turmoil in the region. The country falls into anarchy as a result of the drought and looters invade the villages taking any and everything. People die due to extreme drought and famine.
The school expells William for lack of fees. However, through persuasion and a little blackmail, he convinces a teacher to give him access to the library. Here, he finds a book titled Using Energy. It guides him on how to build a windmill power generator. This generator helps the village irrigate the fields where his family and neighbors tend to.
It’s important to note that The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is based on a true story. Therefore, it’s even more thrilling.
Chiwetel builds a narrative where you feel entwined and sympathetic to the characters. The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is almost like an African superhero movie. Although it does suffer from the pacing, the movie is an amazing biopic. In my opinion, I would love to see in more directive roles by Chiwetel Ejiofor.
The movie’s cinematography is immaculate. Dick Pope’s painting of the landscape conveys as much of the story as the narration itself. In addition, the scenes are as realistic as it gets. The audience immediately travels through the little village in Malawi.
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind captures William’s raw emotions as he goes through good and bad times. Though the protagonist is a child, the director creates a mature, well-balanced environment. He ensures that the audience isn’t too moved by emotion that they lose the plotline.
I can’t forget the brilliant performance by Maxwell Simba either. Another newcomer, he commands attention with his infectious enthusiasm and a heart full of dreams. He really embodied the character and brought it to life. It was as though he was The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind in real life. Additionally, the impeccable team of talented actors delivered an iconic biopic.
Being Ejiofor’s first outing, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is a beautiful movie. It’s a painting a gem in Netflix’ roster. It’s a worthwhile watch but be sure to have tissues next to you though. I’d give it a 5-star rating for the flawless storyline and delivery.
Watch the trailer here.