Tamed is a film that explores an emerging trend in Africa where men who have been considered the traditional breadwinners and protectors of families suddenly find themselves depending on the women they are supposed to take care of. Mutua Mwendwa explores this new social order in Tamed.
Tamed stars Joyce Nyawira (Jacky Kaboi) as a budding lawyer whose boyfriend, Mike Simiyu (Moori Njogu) takes to drowning himself in alcohol after he loses a 6-figure salary and he is no longer the able provider he used to be. He has tarmacked for a year and is literally coming to his life’s end were it not for the intervention of Joyce’s friend and room mate Angel Ndambuki (Muthoni Thiong’o) who comes to his rescue.
Simiyu quickly turns around (which feels a bit too rushed – Mwendwa should have thrown in a few challenges and some hard times to the script to depict the hard road of a recovering alcoholic). By then Joyce has moved on and has landed a new hot number and wants nothing more to do with Simiyu.
One never notices the contribution of the background music to the film until much later when it just seems to strike a chord with the mood of the scenes as Joyce realises her new romantic acquisition was just a one night stance. Here the music tells a deeper story and helps the audience for the first time to connect with what thoughts may be going through Joyce’s mind especially when she arrives home to find Simiyu in a compromising position with Angel. This is the only time music does it for us and its powerfully executed.
There are daring moments in the film where feelings of passion and romance are depicted in a very graphical manner like never before done in Kenyan film. Mutua, right there, adds a new meaning to the word ‘risk’ as he ventures to a place very sensitive in a society where some feelings are not choreographed in front of an audience because they are deemed very private.
With this kind of risk-taking attitude, Mutua seems poised for greater things in RiverWood. Tamed won the Best Director and Best Supporting Actress Awards at the 5th Kalasha Awards and was also nominated for Best Lead Actor, Best Director of Photography and Best Supporting Actress at the same awards.
It went on to bag the Best Director and Best Lead Actress awards at the first RiverWood Academy Awards with 4 nominations for Best Director, Best Lead Actor, Best Lead Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Go watch the film and come back here and tell us what you thought. We have provided the film’s trailer below.