You do not need a budget of 100 million or Osas as a lead actress to make a good movie. This film stands out as a beacon for all aspiring directors and producers, this is how you start. Submit your piece to a film festival, (Eastern Nigeria International Film Festival, ENIFF), source for distributors, ask, get turned down, and ask again till you get One to believe in your Film. Have an okay run in the cinemas and then release to Netflix to reach a supposedly wider audience. To review this movie, one must bear in mind that this narrative film is the first feature of a director working on a budget. There remains a lot of room for improvement, and I will be overtly generous to score this 3.8/10.
Message: Since the days of Kanayo O. Kanayo’s Blood Money (1997), Nollywood has been trying to warn us that ritual killings are a front for human parts trafficking. This movie lends its voice to the growing outcry against human parts trafficking which is now a booming business in Nigeria. Our government and police force should start working to bring these syndicates down. This piece is educative, a cautionary tale for young souls surrounded by many gods and faces- sapa, society-acceptable prostitution (at hook-up), and internet fraud. The writer draws from his own experience, “frustration brought on by failure to break into Nollywood,” and it is worthy of note that he didn’t give up or join the HK gang (to the best of our knowledge). Crime doesn’t pay (or pays at terrible costs), young mind keep at your hustle.
The writing: Millions flock to see a Guy Ritchie film simply because of the signature rhythm, oomph, and sweetness of movie speech. I can say we have unearthed one of our own. The lines were beautifully crafted, containing relatable references (society and Nollywood) and well delivered in soothing Engli-Igbo.
Captivating picture: The single-camera use (down to money budget or by choice) works in the film’s favour as you feel like you are in the room with the characters and experiencing the story with them.
Mensa’s voice: The voice over the phone does convey power, control and rightly instills fear in the mind of the boys.
Acting: The acting was just okay. The actors (all 5 of them) will get better but will have to put in the work. This project should help them get gigs, and they will benefit from learning under different directors. Regina Daniel’s cuckold Somadina has not stepped up from “home video” standards and struggled with showing emotions. Ken Erics shows his seniority in the business but only just.
Production: Shaky scenes and below-par sound mixing, not bad for the first go, we will be watching closely on the next one.
Plot hole: What was special about that “one night?” “Hello Boss, we didn’t get the girls tonight, we will have them in first thing tomorrow morning.” Send your babe and Pino Pino home, find another set tomorrow, problem solved. The story fails to tell us why it absolutely had to happen that night or maybe I missed it.
This movie might just be the boost the East needs to kickstart its renaissance and return to its days of Nollywood glory (most would rightly argue that the East birthed the industry). Everyone does not need to run to Lagos (save that for the movies). We can have top production companies based in Enugu, Cross River et al. This is not intended to raise ethnic debates or an Igbo Ronu war cry. It is simply calling for a region to invest in movies as they used to and replicate the success in the West (the west being just Lagos). We need to create a strong industry, a strong Nollywood where you can be a star in Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, or Kano (if they are not so bent on Kannywood) without chasing Lasgidi.
We as Nigerian people must also do better; WE DO NOT WATCH AND SUPPORT OUR MOVIES ENOUGH. Most consider it taboo to PAY to watch our movies on the big screen. If you can pay to watch Barbie (woke psychobabble), you can pay to watch us. I have strong faith that Niyi Akinmolayan’s upcoming family adventure Mikolo (See Trailer) will do very well come August 18th. Tell your friends to tell their friends, plan the perfect family outing.