Desperate To Survive

Ghana Movie Review
Desperate To Survive – 2010
Story – John Dada
Screenplay – Dennis Adewale
Director – Pascal Amanfo
Producer – John Dada

Yvonne Nelson – Gaga
Yvonne Okoro – Cindy
Martha Ankomah – Val
Eddie Nartey – Teddy
Luckie Lawson – Natasha Lawson
Gavivina Tamakloe – Victor
Prince David Osei – Detective Tom
Gloria Osei Sarfo – Estel
Omar de 1st – Prince
Eve Asare – Toms Wife

Betrayal Rating – 81%

Natasha Lawson lost both of her parents at the age of 10 and her only brother is her whole world. They live together in a shack in Accra, that is until the sudden disappearance of her brother which hits her very hard considering that she has no one else to turn to. She is alone, lonely and defenceless and easy prey for vultures and predators. After she is brutally gang raped something snaps in her where she doesn’t care so much about life anymore and she becomes a thief and then hardened criminal. The girl she was died and the woman in her become comes alive. She becomes a woman with no hope, dreams or ambitions until she meets a stranger that changes her life.

The stranger is called Timmy. He tries to rob Natasha one day and to his surprise she is fearless and attempts to frisk him down instead, lifts his shirt and mocks him for not having a gun. They become tight and he transfers all his criminal knowledge to her. By the time that Timmy disappears from Natasha’s life she is stronger than ever criminally wise. She ups her game and forms her own crew with 3 other girls They target prominent and wealthy men and and set about robbing them. It felt a bit like a Ghanaian Set It Off

In the crew we have Yolanda Martins street name Gaga played by Yvonne Nelson, “the girl is so good that she can steal your life out of your body, damn sometimes she even steals from herself.”

Yvonne did a great job, these kind of bad girl roles are the ones that she seems to excel in.

Then we have Kim Boateng street name Viper played by Gloria Osei Sarfo,

“This is a man in a woman’s skin, she pulls the trigger with the ease of a wink and she never ever misses a shot.

She was very convincing as a mannish woman. She had the masculine swagger down to a T.

Martha Ankomah played Val Adoo street name the bitch,

“Sex is her weapon”

Martha is definitely getting pigeon holed as a sex kitten. She does play the part well but it would be nice to see her in some other role to prove the naysayers wrong if not anything else.

Yvonne Okoro comes in partway through the film as Val’s replacement. She is an expert computer hacker that Natasha met in an internet café. Yvonne was great I think she is a wonderful actress that needs to get used more.

Luckie Lawson was the stand out performance, although I felt that she performed better at the beginning of the movie before she put together the crew. She was makeupless and without the wigs and somehow her performance felt rawer. The American twang appeared stronger once she became Natasha the badass with the invincible crew.


Cinematography & Style
Sylistically the film is similar to The Game and Blackmail with the target finder and vital statistics shown as each character is introduced I guess this is becoming a common thing in Ghanaian movies The film is beautifully shot. It was as though every shot was carefully crafted and there were so many artistic stills that can be taken from this movie. Only problem was that I felt the there was too much contrast which made it too dark in some scenes.

I thought that the movie was very well written and the speech felt natural and in some instances it was poetic particularly at the beginning of the movie. Blow are two quotes from the movie that I liked,

“The wounds turned to scars and the scars turned to memories”

Natasha about her repeated rapes.

“There are two types of people in this life. You either hang on the cross, or you’re banging in the nails”

Timmy to Natasha when he laughs at her for her telling him that she has got a job as a waitress.

Why on earth did they go to visit the ritualist doctor in the first place. That part came out of the blue to me. They had just met their new recruit and then the scene just went straight to the ritualist’s shrine. Why didn’t they know the conditions of the rituals before undertaking the first step of initiation? And was it for money or why since they were already rolling in cash? Perhaps protection against death since Val was shot to death. We see that when one makes a sacrifice the thing that you are sacrificing may be more important that the thing you are asking for. In the case of the girls they cannot ever make love again. Which means that’s they will never have children. When their life of crime is over what will they do?

There was pain, sorrow, agony, tears, panic, horror, bloodshed mystery and death. All 5 girls did a stellar job especially Luckie. Eddy and Prince were good although their roles were way more minor. The movie moved at a fast pace and kept you in the story at all times, however I felt that towards the end the movie wasn’t as good as it could have been. The whole thing with the rituals weakened the story for me. After all Gaga sleeps with a man and nothing happens except the special powers stop. So what? She still slept with a man and baba said she would not be able to. On the whole I really enjoyed the movie. It wasn’t the usual good over bad ending which is sometimes how it is in real life. I’d definitely recommend you get your copy. Thumbs up.

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Tell Us What You Think!



  1. Selfish, Greed…….I couldn't believe it when Natasha (Luckie Lawson) shot Gaga (Yvonne Nelson) at the end of the movie. I mean how can one be this selfish and greedy?

    I was expecting something more than Gaga loosing her special powers. I think they went too far with the way they treated Detective Tom. Did Gaga really have to kill his wife? The poor woman had no clue about the rape so why kill her huband and her?

    It was a nice movie but I hoping for a miracle to happen when Detective Teddy will just appear in Natasha's house and shot her but I guess it will never happen.

    Thanks for posting Nolly.

  2. I think it was a good movie!

    There was a little kind of 'déjà vu' with the way of presenting the characters.

    I loved the script too and the transformation of yvonne Okoro into an old woman. She was impressive and really convincing.

    But the Timmy guy was a bit overacting, for me!! The rape scene could have been shoot better than that.The unrealistic part is the way policemen are arriving so quickly on the crime scene.It's not true at all!! lol!!!

    As @Adwoa said, there was no need to kill the wife of prince.

    There was no need to include lesbianism scene in baba's temple.

    In the final scene, I find Natasha not only greedy but kind of mad: the way she is behaving remember me of some psychopath. Maybe it's a way to show how rape or even poverty can change someone personality.

    Keep it up Nolly!

    • Alot of the Ghanaian films are using the targetfinder and vital statistics to introduce character. Different producers and directors. I don't even know why. I don't mind it but it is slightly odd!

      I believe the way Natasha turned out was meant to show how situations in a person's life completely change the person that they would have been.

  3. TheChuckylee says:

    Dis movie was very interesting.All the main casts did a good job.The standouts 4 me were Luckie Lawson & Yvonne Okoro especially. Dat gal is a very gud actress and I never knew she could speak twi (Ghanaian language) so well when she played the old lady role.Kudos to Pascal Amanfo and the rest of the crew and cast.

  4. I ve watched this movie and its quiet nice, but the ending was rather sad,,,,,

  5. Me think all 4 gals really stood out, yvonne Nelson has this verstility,,,,,yvone Okoro and Gloria has this high energy, I hv always loved the 2 Yvonne and Martha,,,,,,,,congrats gals

  6. omg this is so much like an old nigerian movie arrghh i can't remember tha name but i remember regina askia an bob emanuell being in tha movie he was the detective and regina was the leader of the theives and liz benson tha old rich lady any one that remember the name please reply cuz itz bugging me now!!! think this was done even before set it off

    btw gonna look out for dis one

    • @Lara, I thought the same. The movie was Most wanted, where the ladies – Regina Askia, Ayo Adesanya played armed robbers. So it was done before Set it Off? I thought it was after it and they used the idea loosely. Anyway it was quite good too. I can't remember the background story cos it's been so long now, so I can't say how much of it was adopted for Desperate to survive, but it really reminded me of that movie.

    • Ahh Ok I've not seen that one.

  7. Likedd this movie.It showcased how good an actor Natasha is.She did a great job.The two Yvonnes as always didn't disappoint.Martha also played her usual sex kitten role really well.

    The spiritaulist part seemed rather unnecessary to me too.

    I did not like the ending also.It seemed like an impromtu kind of ending to the movie and not well thought out at all.

    Howvever,the movie was pretty engaging,and I enjoyed it.

    • Natasha was played by Luckie Lawson. I've never noticed her too much before, but she stood out in this movie. I could have done without the spiritualist stuff myself but it didn't detract from the story too much.

  8. This movie was the bomb an 8 or 9 in my book, yes we have so seen this plot before in Set it off and others but it was still really good.. . man I didn't see the end coming at all.. .when Luckie and Gaga shot Val and Cindy I was like wtf lol but when Luckie greedy ass turned around and shot Gaga I was at the edge of my seat. .this goes to show your the old saying is indeed true *There's no honor among thieves* any ways Yvonne Okoro they sleeping on her and they better wake up that girl is very pretty and she's got skills, I hope to see her more.. .

    p.s.. .here I am when Detective Tom got shot saying good for his behind that's what he gets for raping Gaga, only to find out Luckie set his butt up lolol.. .

    • True dat about "no honour amongst thieves" you aint never lied. If you see the way a person can so easily kill, maim and thief from another, wht makes you think that one day it won't be you that they do that to?

  9. I watched this a few weeks ago and was happy to see Lucky Lawson back in play, she's a talented actress who's been off the scene for a while, however I would like to see more films without the Juju element and Gollywood have done this successfully in quite a few films I,ve seen which is why I was surprised with it in this production.

    In all it was a good film but the end was a bit silly, they could all have lived comfortably on the money stolen.

    Anyway it's just a film.

    • I guess that they thought that Juju was the only way to make the girls invincible although I didnt think that the girls needed to be invincible for the story to work. I actually liked the end in a weird sick way. It gave it some shock factor.

  10. It was an okay movie. Didn't care for all the stats and target finder for the characters. I was hoping the movie stayed with same gritty scene as initially started instead of the girls blowing up and becoming rich. A little cliche for me. I wanted to see the girl life at the bottom/at the worse with all the struggles. But whatever float their boat and rock their world. Other than that it was cool.

  11. This was actually a good movie… actresses to watch out for luckie lawson and yvonne okoro they made it worth watching..

  12. De béll&egrav says:

    Standout performance 4 me,Luckie Lawson,she's da biggest thing that happened in dt movie.She was so real,passionate and totally made me 4get it was just a movie.D two yvonnes did their things as usual,ril gud.But Luckie{Natasha}?I must confess i didnt see dt cuming,it was a fresh breath of air and i so luv it.Tanx nolly 4 the review,dat was actually wat made me watch da movie,and,i wasnt disappointed.Pls help me tell our own Nollywood 2 borrow a leaf 4rm Golly,they sure nid it instead of churnin out stupid storylines wit semi-nude girls on the cover.Gosh,its an eyesore this days.

  13. i watched this movie yesterday and i find it was really good.. all the actors played their part very well jus i dont like the ending… natasha was lookin a bit crazy and she end up being greedy with the $$$….. the rituals part i must agree with the rater, it jus came suddenly after they hire a recruit to subsistute val… i find it didnt call for but they especially natasha frightened death but they couldnt make love again?! and it was broken by gaga… in all i find it was good all the same.. it captivate me and i must say well done to the producers

    • I can understand the ending being disappointing because it is natural that we always want a happy ending, but I found it realistic because thats how it sometimes is in real life. there is no happy ending 🙁

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