It began with an opening scene, and we were introduced to different prostitutes in and outside of a bustling Lagos night club, the neon light bulbs flickering intermittently. I bet everyone was surprised about Sharon Ooja, acting out of her normal role as a supporting actress, either as a girl entangled in the love web or antagonising the protagonist. We were all caught in a surprise. When the trailer premiered, most people on Twitter talked about how they were proud of her growth.
The beginning of the movie had promise. It really did, and I expected more than that, but the plot fell flat. Not necessarily the plot; the whole story did not have forward momentum that produced thrilling suspense. It felt like watching an everyday life documentary, but I was pleased by a lot of its aesthetics, especially the scenes featuring the prostitutes. The movie pacing is slow, many scenes trying hard to appear deep. I was not aware the main character, Ólótūré, Sharon Ooja, was an investigative journalist until later into the movie, and when we were made aware, it didn’t have an effect on the entire plot. The actings, most importantly, had promise. But, well, the entire Mo Abudu’s team left their normal comfort zone to make this movie against her usual glitters and cheeky romance comedy. And one thing is that Nigerian actors are improving in their crafts.
The fast-rising actress, Bukola Oladipupo, Beauty, seemed to be the new talented masterpiece. Sambasa Nzeribe, as usual, has shown he is one of the best male actors in the Nigerian movie sector – from the Soldier’s story to The Wedding Party.
Things that stood out for me in the movie as a whole was the language. If there is something the director paid attention to, it is the language. We are beginning to decolonise the English Language, applying our pidgin variant in international scenes. The first person I noticed that did it was the German-Nigerian writer, Efua Traore with her commonwealth winning story, True Happiness. Efua captured pidgin, the main character, a seemingly Warri boy, as the narrator. The flow was succinct. It is what Jamaican writers had been doing with language: Jamaican patois, and I am awed. Nigerian creatives are starting to pay attention to language, especially on the international scenes. The pidgin came naturally, not forced, and was nearly perfect.
Again, I love the realism, reflecting the entire movie. During the initiation, the girls were naked, and their nudity was shown. Art reflects reality in its raw form, as we saw through the uncensored languages.
But, I didn’t love the ending. I am a writer; I am not so much of a fan of happily ever after endings. I never wanted Ólótūré to have that, but the ending didn’t reflect the body of the work. We barely saw conflicts, and when they came, they were abrupt, had slow effects, and seemed cut and disjointed. And at the end, where we had a major conflict, they ended it abruptly. It could have had a stretch, with other multiple scenes, without Ólótūré in the picture to create seemingly suspense. We needed a gripping climax, but most scenes were flat. Lastly, I have never loved most Nigerian movie sequels, but a sequel here won’t be bad.
Obinna Tony-Francis Ochem is an Igbo- Nigerian writer. He writes from the comfort of his tranquility, exploring the theme of gender, class, sexuality, climate change, and shape-shifting monsters. He is an alumnus of the L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future Online Workshop and SpringNG ’20 cohort writing mentorship programme. His works are published in Moskedapages, Kalahari Review, Rustintimes, Punocracy Longlist ’19 & 20, Tush Magazine essay finalist, and The WorkBooth magazine. Some of his works can be accessed via https://linktr.ee/obynofranc. He tweets @obynofranc.
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