…Living In Bondage: Breaking Free Review…

By: Arc

Level: 3

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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At the end we all gave a standing ovation, fine we didn’t quite clap but we did stand when the lights came on and everyone was really pleased. It was a crowd of mostly 90s kids and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves  as Swanky JKA (Nnamdi Okeke) dished out lectures in method acting.  He became our childhood’s ANDY OKEKE, the resemblance was uncanny (Great work at casting). He walked like him, he talked like him (His Igbo rolled off the tongue in the same way as Andy’s), the emotions were expressed the same. The son became the father. We were at Filmhouse but a lot of us were back in our parents’ living rooms with our room dividers and akwa oche.

Before I continue with passing compliments, I would bring the kids of the new millennia up to speed

1992’s Living in Bondage

The story follows Andy (Kenneth Okonkwo) and Merit (Nnenna Nwabueze), a young couple trying to build a life and hitting several brick walls. A desperate Andy is lured by his best friend, big headed Paul (Okechukwu Ogunjiofor) into a secret cult and Andy is soon informed of the price he has to pay for wealth- sacrifice his PERFECT WIFE, love of his life (There was no fine print for him to read before signing Lucifer’s contract and he didn’t turn the pages). Afraid of dying, Andy comes through (albeit after trying to con the gods- presenting a fake wife) and gives up Merit. On her death bed, Merit promises to love Andy in her next life even as she knows what he did but assures him and us he shall have no peace, sealing her place as the National Symbol of Ritualistic One-You-Love-Most Betrayal.

“Andy i wee gbuo m…”

Merit haunts Andy in typical No-peace-for-the-wicked fashion till he threatens to expose the cult, runs mad, confesses to killing Merit and is finally saved by Christ.

27 Years later, Ramsey Nouah (God bless his soul) decides to celebrate this piece by putting together a sequel. He executed this flawlessly (Is there such a thing though? Well by my low biased standards, the movie was flawless)

  • Ego Loophole: How do you connect to a story after 2 decades? After years of brain storming, the answer was provided and it was absolutely brilliant. The story would hinge on Andy’s mistress Ego keeping a son-Nnamdi Okeke and every other thing fell into place.

 

  • Casting and Performance: Kenneth Okonkwo, Kanayo O Kanayo, Bob Manuel Udokwu, Ndidi Obi, Kalu Ikeagwu, Ramsey Nouah, Zulu Adigwe, Enyinna Nwigwe, Nancy Isime and Munachi Abii. Stellar right? Credit to the director for giving everyone “appropriate” screen time, the veterans did not take over the show and they didn’t dwell too much on the parent story or attempt to reenact flashbacky scenes (Kenneth Okonkwo is way too big bodied for any of that). Swanky JKA as previously mentioned was the star of the show and I almost didn’t recognize Abii on account of how good her acting was this time around. The bromance between Nnamdi and Tobe (Shawn Faqua) was great watch. Ramsey as Richard Williams (The Devil or so) was sublime, makes you wonder why Ramsey was ever cast as lover boy in the old days, this man was made for villainy roles.

 

  • Picture Quality and Special Effects: From where I stand and where we are as an industry, I’d score these 95%. There wasn’t much do be done about racing a Ferrari through the streets of Lagos, it is what it is.

 

  • Fusion with the 1996 Otokoto Owerri Riots: In the voice of Tony Montana- “We need movies like this, we need movies like this so we can point our finger and say yeah- Nollywood can fuse fiction with reality.” Again absolutely brilliant- ART.

 

  • Igbo Heritage: Biafra can claim this one eh, Igbo kwenu! They stuck with the Original’s Igbo template, all characters were brought on board and the language came off as soul soothing music save for when Ramsey stretched himself a bit with “I che na o wu egwuregwu ka anyi n’egwu.”

 

  • Life lessons: The story was very relatable in more ways than one (traditional wedding hook up et al). Safe to say the devil uses your talents against you. Nnamdi did the presentation on his own, he got in the company, well deserved and by his brain work but then he wanted MORE! The devil has no power of his own; he lures you in with your own will.

 

This however shouldn’t serve to discourage Nigerian youths or lead to Wide Scale Success Shaming. You can get 7 digit paying jobs if you work hard and still keep your soul. Obinwanne and all aside, young people can be legit successful.

 

  • Highlife Exhibition: I am not a fan but seeing the movie pay its respects to Highlife greats (Chief Osadebe, Oliver De Coque et al) was very pleasing.

If you haven’t yet seen this movie, I do not know what you are waiting for. There is Bargain Wednesday and Corper Thursdays, pick a day and go see it so that when another sequel is made 27 years after you wouldn’t need catching up.

The fact that we can anticipate a sequel to the sequel is really too much excitement to handle. A big thank you to everyone who made this movie, thank you Sir Ramsey Nouah (We have no Queen but we movie lovers do solemnly knight you- A knight of Kingdom Nollywood).

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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3 Comments …Living In Bondage: Breaking Free Review…

  1. Ib

    Unfortunately, I may be the only 90’s kid who didn’t watch living in bondage. Great review..cant wait for it to get to Netflix!

    Reply
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