“Somewhere In Baltimore, is cheerily relaxing to watch, and the story line absorbing.”
Liberian movies are rare and far in between, and that’s not putting it mildly, good Liberian movies that is. Now, we can brief a sigh of relief because in the newly released Somewhere In Baltimore produced by Liberia’s own Aletha Campbell you have a treat on the table. But then again you might be right if you claimed the movie to be not entirely Liberian, since the actors are spread across the board: Caribbeans, Liberians, Americans and other nationalities coming under the umbrella of Campbell’s debut.
Written by Andrew Campbell, the initial scene offers a painful occurrence, when the home of a family is broken into by gunmen. With their only son watching beyond the gazes of the intruders, the father and the mother are shot dead. The trauma would cast a spell on the live of the young son even as he grows into adulthood. Linus is a victim cast in Somewhere In Baltimore, and the episode depicted , as is often common place in inner city violence when robberies go wrong.
Andrew Campbell must have had post traumatic syndrome disorder on his mind in this first of his, or he makes the case as a matter of prominence for society’s cause. The violence as is witnessed by the son would consume his life forever.
Somewhere In Baltimore is also inspired by Linus and the symptoms. Due to the trauma he experienced when his parents are shot, Linus becomes refractory. He is shied and stayed away from people but is determined to live on even without his parents.
As is expected, just a child when he witnessed the gruesome murder, the profound effects of the experience and the consequences it leaves him are common place in society. Somewhere In Baltimore therefore, deserves kudos for highlighting this societal ab-normalcy. Matters are not helped, when Linus goes to live with his grand mother who becomes his legal guardian; she refused help for mental health counselings, compounding his already difficult situation.
Despite his condition he wants to live happily as a child, but becomes a victim yet again of bullying by his peers. He befriends Ellie, played by Kendell Sirleaf who wrongly accused Linus of trying to hurt a puppy, throughout his life, he is wrongly accused, he endures the burden of this weight, he must carry. He would eventually get throw out of school and for job he goes looking. He finds one. As he matures into a man various circumstances lead him to a life of alienation—he is isolated from everyone, overburdened by fear and scare of how horrific the world is, that one must watch his own parents brutally taken away for no just cause, Linus lives in a bubble.
Linus dabbles in self-help catch phrases that would sound silly to anyone, but given his condition perfectly understandable. He’s is not deterred by the disorder, he reads the newspaper daily and live in a untidy house, somehow convinced that the murder of his parents will be solved, yet he himself will not report the crime.
Somewhere In Baltimore, is cheerily relaxing to watch, and the story line absorbing. It is a family movie, that tells a good narrative with a conflicting plot, and a nicely explored theme, but the transition from the young Linus to the older man he gradually becomes is not well paced. You have a feeling you are watching an American movie made for an African audience, and probably that’s due to the international casts. The Music is good.
Starring Linus, aka Bobby Valentino Zoe, the actor puts in a great effort in his first acting role. Fate would reunite Linus and Marshall played by Renaldo Tilley, who was one of two men on the murder scene the day his parents were executed in their own home, when a robbery went wrong.
As it turns out that in Somewhere In Baltimore, convention says that evil and mayhem to justify gangsterism by killing innocent people for the fun of it is a thing you could do, but judgement day awaits you somewhere down the line, and this is true for Marshall, who would eventually get caught when the long arm of the law comes looking for him! Marshall starts a family and fits nicely into the community but underneath this calm demeanor lurks a deep secret. The decency that belies his conduct is a pretext that is also cosmetic.
Somewhere in Baltimore is a film you must watch. It is good and the Campbells deserved credit for putting creativity and heart into their first movie, this husband and wife combo is worth seeing, and well, as another critic put it, “it gets a “BUY IT” recommendation!”
Review by Ralph Geeplay