Director: Shirley Frimpong-Manso
Stars: Senanu Gbedawo, Nadia Buari, Ekow Blankson, Naa Ashorkor Mensah
Watch Online: Checkmate

Checkmate is a lesser-known installment of luminary director Shirley Frimpong-Manso from Ghana. How could I have missed it? Is the question that resonated when the film credits rolled.

Life is a series of moves, and making the right moves is paramount; there is a lot at stake. Risk assessment is therefore intrinsic to the moves, under consideration in our lives.

Checkmate is a game of human behaviour. Life is likened to a game where we are all pawns whether were are aware or unaware of it. The objective is not to be taken by surprise, to always outsmart your opponents and think several moves ahead.

Clearly, when we are all on high alert, it is more difficult to locate your prey. Therefore, guards must be weakened and vulnerabilities exploited to ensure victory to the other party.

Our aspirations can morph into weaknesses, if we do not know where to draw the line in attaining them. A moment of indecision and self-doubt is sufficient to slip unsavory characters in. In the company of predators, we are weakest in our neediest moments.

The line deliveries of Naa Ashorkor Mensah Doku are painful to the ear, although Frimpong-Manso favors her in many of her films. At least, she is a pillar of sweetness to her husband, played by the energetic lead, Senanu Gbedawo. I appreciated the fact that the movie did not end with a fairy tale veil of cluelessness for Naa’ s character. It would have been an insult to women’s intelligence!

Senanu Gbedawa is a naive and honest police officer. He is the police officer who helps us sleep better at night. One wonders how many in African government are as dedicated as he is, to keep crime at bay.

Nadia Buari’s character stands in for our respective weaknesses. Do we conquer or give in to our weaknesses? As an internationally-recognizable African film industry star, it was time to see Nadia Buari in a film of respectable production quality.

Overall, African Movie Academy Awards winner Shirley Frimpong-Manso should do more to bring new faces to Ghallywood. She recycles the same faces in her movies, although the limited sponsors of her high-quality projects might dictate the terms of the cast selection to guarantee favorable results. You are never free to gamble with borrowed funds!

The full circle of Checkmate is that in spite of rampant corruption in African political circles, there are exceptions and we should be more appreciative of those sacrificing to remain standing in the game, when everyone else elects to be put into checkmate.


  1. But how could anyone be so naive???? The protagonist Kwame was just annoying by the middle of the movie. Especially when he goes to Caroline’s place at his birthday instead of to his wife.

  2. I don’t agree he was naive! He was just trying to be nice to someone who paid for his petrol. That’s courtesy, not naivety!

  3. There is a fine line between courtesy and naivety – it’s called ignorance. Kwame can not pretend he didn’t know from the start that Caroline was being used to set him up. Where did he think drinking all that brandy was going to leave him? In Caro’s laps – and it did.


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