An intense plot, erotic scenes and immersive sound, ‘Hey You’ is the sort of movie you want to see with your spouse over a glass of fine wine in a scantily-lighted room in the middle of the night, and I would bet there’ll be a happy ending.
On this project that will pass as one of Nollywood’s best attempts at telling an x-rated story without lousy skin-crawling, Niyi Akinmolayan’s Anthill Studios partnered talented writer and director, Uyoyou Adia to deliver her second theatrical directorial as a worthy sequel to her successful first, ‘Charge and Bail.’ This romance drama and absolutely adult-only film, somehow survived the NFVCB’s gavel to make it to the cinemas nationwide on the 29th of July, 2022.
‘Hey You’ was produced by Victoria Akujobi , written and directed by Victoria Uyoyou, co-written by Niyi Akinmolayan with cinematography by Barnabas Emordi. The movie stars Timini Egbuson (Abel), Efe Irele (Bianca) and Rotimi Salami (Lanre) as regular individuals with bags of dirty little secrets; Temitope Olowoniya (‘The Boss’), Stan Eze (Chibueze) and a host of other fast-rising Nollywood actors as costarts, to deliver a great cast.
The story follows the happenstance of an introverted nerdy software engineer, Abel (Timini) ending up to as neighbour to his long-term sexual fantasy and devout sex camgirl, Bianca. Both individual’s double personalities draw them together in their various worlds of regular hardworking singles and flirtatious fun-seeking sort of perverts. Pretty much so with a typical Nigerian life, the failures of governance would have Bianca end up in Abel’s apartment and bathroom when power-cuts during her first ever premium sultry show was going to lead to her account getting suspended for poor reviews since two previously live episodes had been angrily dropped due to her reluctance to strip and do meet other harcore requests of clients.
Bianca is little less than a trollop, though she is a hobbyist stripper, often hiding behind a mask and the cam to do majorly basic sexting and erotic dances. Going premium on her famous ‘Fans Only’ account means she satisfies the requirement of paid customers, majorly chronic perverts.
This very night, Darknight (Abel’s FanOnly pseudo name) was her last attempt to break her walls and slut limitlessly. Now she’s ironically in Abel’s bathroom in the middle of an intense cam-sex interrupted by power cuts.
The story centres on the flux of events that took Abel and Bianca on the journey of finding self and finding love next door. Through a highly thrilling plot, the duplicitous lives of both titters between reality and secret fantasy with their actual jobs and existence fighting against their yarn to strip the world down to a solo stage for their magnetic romance.
Abel would lose his much-hated job to Lanre (Rotimi Salami)’s backstabbing. Bianca loses hers too to Abel’s mistake and falls back into the waiting arms of her off-and-on billionaire-heir boyfriend, Habib (Seyi Awolowo) with Abel left to deal with heart wreck of losing both Bianca (his inferred first love) and Caramelgoodess (his over-the-cam sexual fantasy that turned out to be Bianca).
The dual personality of most ordinary people, the turns and the twist of balancing out reality and fantasy, love and the conundrums of making a choice between alternative attractions are items this film is themed around.
‘Hey You’ has an excellent plot. The characters were brilliantly introduced in a cascade, with a fierce porny lap-dance opening scene that exposed the mood and tone of the story. Within the first two scenes of the film, one is easily drawn into the world of the story’s protagonists, Abel and Bianca. Of course a cute smart software engineer, yanking-off while watching an NGO child-care giver moonlighting as voluptuous sex-cam bunny quickly sets the mind on a curiosity train.
The conflict and rising actions of the plot are so well layered, coming at appropriate turns after a lot of good doses of love, erotica and everyday life. Here we are, Abel is finally hooked to a real human, Bianca emotionally entwined to her neighbour and ‘Fan Only’ client (without her knowing) then the ‘big boy’, every woman’s dream-boyfriend shows up with his airs to claim his woman, just as depicted in the famous 2003 Style-plus song ‘Call My Name’.
Lots of twist and turns in the plot that keeps the mind shut from concluding on ‘happily ever after’ ending for Abel and Bianca. Like Bianca having to find out that Abel knew about ‘Caremelgoodess’ all along, when she got pulled into her boss’ office and queried for letting her friend (Abel) gift the orphanage his drawings that included explicit contents. How funny that ‘Mama’ was here advising her staff to avoid relating with such ‘dirty-minded people’ unaware that the slutty bunny girl drawn all over the pages of the book was actually her.
Just the previous scene, Abel had beat the holdbacks, professed his love for Bianca; the shy boy broke the glass door with the pickup lines “…you’ve opened a space in my heart and I want you to be the one to fill it…”. Bianca responded with a sealed lip! Just kidding, locked to his, and the pleasuring that have only existed in their minds played out in the perfect cloud of lust and thrust. Such a salivating scene, accentuated with a perfect smash song.
Now, Bianca is right in front of Abel with rage and fears, bitterness and disappointment, casting aspersions at him for being so vile as to gift the innocent orphan a lewd material! Of course, Abel discredits the self-righteousness with his own outburst of having his now love-of-my-love stripping over the cam for every man out there.
“You know that’s funny, the most amazing things always turn out to be a lie”, was Bianca’s parting statement that set off the stage for the falling actions of the plot. Beautiful!
The climax didn’t have a sharp drop too, more twists went on to obfuscate what the resolution and ending might look like. Abel getting to save Bianca from a rapist was his chance to get back into her arms after an extended impasse, but the quick awakening to the fact that he must have been spying on her to have seen promptly when her live-cam session turned awry only further exasperated Bianca. And shortly afterwards, Habib rushes in to comfort his woman and dismiss Abel, the heroic neighbour with a brief thank you.
The not-so-perfect boyfriend just at this lowly point stands by her despite the public disgrace of her moonlight identity getting out on social media. To comfort her, he wires N2million as support to the fund-raising cause for the orphanage Bianca started, then caps that with a beautiful diamond engagement ring! Abel’s lost the war already, let this film end right here!
Barnabas “Barny” Emordi, AMVCA nominated filmmaker and cinematography delivered an excellent work as Director of Photography for this project. This movie being his third cinematography work in 2022 alone speaks to how much his work is appreciated in the industry. From the lighting to angles, camera lenses and composition, etc., every scene of this movie was shot to paint the fine details of its immersive plot.
Some scenes are worthy of note amongst the whole body of work. First, the scene where Bianca seats with Abel in a two-seater in his apartment, with a bicycle hung overhead, while he pitches love to her; filmed at an inclined angle to frame the love-birds well blended into the beautiful, but playful set. Another is the scene, also at Abel’s apartment, where Bianca tells him about the issues with the orphanage – the blurred out hollowed wall taped around with subtle green lighting with flower vases (tulip and roses) forms an alluring background for the cute side views of the beautiful love birds on the foreground –Picture Perfect!
The highlight that sets this piece from Bardy on a whole new pedestal in creative cinematography was the scene shortly after Abel found out that Bianca and Cararemelgoodess were same persons and was basking in the euphoria of having his fantasy jump right into his reality; Abel’s creative mind imagined himself and Bianca kissing and making out and this was beautifully narrated with a wall-projected 2d animation splashed across Abel’s room.
The creative use of illustrations to bring alive chats, emotions, events, tones and communications was a further dive into the riveting story. Barnabas brought his A-game to this project. Period.
Characterization and Acting
For this work, casting is good but could have been better. The lead cast was perfect though a few acts like Stan Eze and Rotimi Salami only did averagely well. Temitope Olowoniya was the big tech boss with the big backside (sort of an icing on the story’s effort at erupting sensuality), and she was great at ‘bossing’ Lanre, Chibueze and Abel around.
The geeky Timini, is a brilliant switch to this stereotyped bad boy of Nollywood. Now the touchy hunk had to be prepped into romance, what a satisfying revenge for the host of female haters. There were scenes he struggled to deliver the timidity of a sex-deprived nerd.
Efe Irele? What a fit! Super beautiful, sexy and alluring screen goddess. Then a face and smile that fits the dual personality she role-played in this movie. Bianca is the heart of this film; her personality that bothers on two addictive extremes would bait anyone to see the movie to the end. Efe delivered 100 percent, easily switching from seductress to governess, from sultry to sweet, from erotic to altruistic affording the rollercoaster ride the viewers will pay to watch.
The dialogues though, were rushed up, mostly basic and not so different from an average Nollywood movie’s. The lead actors through excellent characterization leveled up this gap, but for the not-so-great ones, the dialogues gave them out. This points to the fact that the scriptwriting could have been much better. You would give it up for the creative storytelling though. Dark knight moonlighting as a perfect neighbour turned lover by happenstance, took the conversation back to ‘FansOnly’ to ask Caramelgoodess how to win a woman’s heart, without her knowing she was rather training him to win her heart. Nollytrailers also noticed that the story’s inferred wisdom that one can get inspired by a massive breakthrough idea in some not-so-prideful secret indulgence is also a cap.
There is always that very unserious friend and the Chibueze, ‘Chi-boy’ character, was sort of that narration aside from being its comical spice. That role was not delivered at an excellent level.
The scene where Abel confronts Lanre for tipping him over the cliff, snitching to the boss about his private business, and getting him fired, with his other atrocities was rather tepid. The chats were bland, role-playing weak to the bottom low for all three actors. It was tepid up until the twist, where their boss comes along to fire Lanre having overheard him admitting to attempted rape through an open phone call Chubueze had surreptitiously placed as a ploy to nail Lanre. In Chibueze’s words, ironically summarizing the delivery of that scene “…guy, last last, you’ve been served”
The sound design was okay, not excellent. Original productions/compositions (by Obaro Yanx, others), good music and perfect selections for each scene. But, the sound quality below current industry standard. Notable misses are volume imbalance, disjointed transitional fades and a few music overlap glitches.
Overall Production Quality
The overall production quality will be a B-grade. A lot of vital parameters checked but issues with casting and characterization, sound quality, dialogues, etc sort of robbed the excellent plot and cinematographic work of its valid 5-Star rating. Then, the plot’s resolution and final scene, the big miss:
The part Habib comes just before the wedding, with Seyi’s hair freshly cut, speaks to the details of the production. The Nikai (Muslim wedding ceremony, which is a good departure from the trite church wedding), the Set design, costumes, Habib’s lines…”we’ve come a long way to this day, and beyond everything we have fought for, let’s make us work”, was absolutely beautiful symphony of creative until Abel shows up at the venue and the film turned into a stupid Nollywood of hackneyed Hollywood stop-the-wedding romance movies final cut.
Despite the few glitches, this movie is a 4/5 and should be on everyone’s watch list.
Prophetess: A confluence of spirituality and criminality with over N140mln tag (Review)
On April 2, 2021, Anthill Productions and FilmOne’s comedy film, Prophetess, had its world premiere in Nigerian theaters.
Directed by Niyi Akinmolayan, co-written by Niyi and Yusuf Carew and Amaka Chidoka, the movie stars Toyin Abraham, Kehinde Bankole, Deyemi Okanlawon, Kunle Remi, Lateef Adedimeji, and Tina Mba and others. Additionally, Ronke Oshodi-Oke, Muyiwa Ademola, Stan Nze, Uzor Arukwe, and Seyi Awolowo, a participant on the 2019 season of Big Brother Naija, made an appearance.
Here’s a belated but important review of the movie, which grossed over N140million across Nigeria cinemas and garnered a large fan base in 2021. The box office success of Prophetess was sort of a shock to its critics who thought the story and set was too ordinary to generate as much viewership, giving that Nollywood hits hold common traits of showing the pop culture.
Prophetess tells the story of a prophetess who unwittingly made a series of forecasts that all came true, prompting an entire community to wager on her last prediction about how a relegated side will beat one of the league’s top teams.
The protagonist of the tale is Ajoke (Toyin Abraham), a prophetess whose capers are caught on camera by Dipo (Kunle Remi) and posted on social media. Salewa (Tina Mba) and Iya Ibeji (Ronke Oshodi-Oke), OAP Dipo, who resides in Lagos and with a huge fan base, to Ajoke for cleansing. The prophetess responds to various inquiries from Dipo with some insights that the audience could take the wrong way. When two of her prophecies come true, people all around Oyo State place a huge, unconventional bet on a neighborhood football game. As a club that was demoted, WonderBoys faced overwhelming odds, and they manage to pull off an unlikely triumph.
Ajoke wakes up to a large group of new parishioners after the news went viral, and Dipo gains another 100,000 Instagram followers as a result. However, as political candidate Amani Olofaina (Seyi Awolowo), who fell for Ajoke’s trick, soon disturbs the quiet in the church, the cause-and-effect run of the plot began. Soon, Labake (played by Kehinde Bankole) enters and engages Ajoke in combat after spotting Ajoke on TV earlier that day. According to the storyline, Ajoke and Labake are sisters, and seven years ago, Ajoke fled with Labake’s money. The money was intended for investments by Labake in her future, which led to their sisterly animosity. However, the reason why they fought was because Labake, who was still carrying around the hurt from the past, couldn’t bear to lose more money to Ajoke as Hakeem, whose relationship to the family is unmentioned, placed a bet with the $300,000 that had been sent to him for their mother’s medical expenses.
Akinmolayan exhibits an entitled attitude prepared to place the blame elsewhere when the word circulated that the first forecasts were only happenstance and that there was a rabid crowd during the same wave. As soon as this problem involved some extremely dangerous characters, including Fogo Bombastic, a well-known street mafia lord who threatens to kill Ajoke and her nephew if her prophesy fails, Ajoke and Dipo immediately set out to solve it.
Fond Nollywood memories prior to the age of extravagant costumes and high-tech cameras were stoked by Prophetess. It is not a flawless movie though. Far from it, and to be perfectly honest, it makes no effort to be. Prophetess is a melodramatic movie about melodramatic individuals, despite the fact that it contains probably an excessive amount of melodrama.
You might initially wonder why the movie continues to capitalize on the cliched dramatization of a religious practice of ‘white garment’ churches, but the plot goes to reveal credible themes touching tale of suffering, rejection, family, and salvation. The fact that Prophetess is about regular people, in our opinion, is what endeared it to the moviegoers the most.
Prophetess’ problem is that most of the humour appears to be an outcome of the performance, not the actual content of the movie. Though the performance is excellent, the lines are not up to par. The conversation might occasionally come out as being very commonplace and unoriginal. Although Prophetess has humour, it suffers from humour that is centred on the actors rather than the picture.
The plot was skillfully crafted to reflect a number of societal truths, including the themes of love and forgiveness within a family, religious sentiments that influence decision-making, employer-employee relationships, mob mentality, social media trolling, and sports fandom, by award-winning director Niyi Akinmolayan. It is also quite intriguing how the author gently highlighted the poor condition of our regional football clubs and the disregard for former players and football legends. Nollytrailers thought the intertwined storylines were insightful and well-integrated.
Casting and Acting
The cast of the film represented a diverse range of individuals from various backgrounds, with various aspirations, and leading various lives. We witnessed the difficulties and obstacles faced by actual people experiencing actual emotions while going about their daily lives. From the wealthy to the poor, tech-savvy to inept, educated to ignorant, the characters were not out of place and were discovered in their natural elements, right down to the finer points of their appearances and etiquette.
Nollytrailers would like to assume that the performers who portrayed each role did a better job of capturing the personality of the characters than anyone else could have. With Toyin Abraham playing the major role and actors like Kehinde Bankole and Lateef Adedimeji.
The Prophetess chose a genuine and well-thought-out place; Ibadan has a long history. The director documented the city’s historical past by photographing prominent and noteworthy landmarks such as the Liberty Stadium, Mapo Hall, and a few more. The characters’ separate residences were also nicely chosen, with a clear portrayal of and differentiation between rural and urban areas.
Niyi, with this project, once again demonstrates that intriguing cinematography is not all about choice locations and beautiful landscape. The A-List filmmaker here displayed a strong command of image compositions and shots that effectively told the tale. The use of on-screen social network pop-ups spiced the story-telling – they were funny, extremely realistic, and added to the story’s growth.
Sound Design and Music
The uniqueness of this film’s musical creations was a joy to the ears. The invention of a character song for “Fogo Bombastic,” as well as the majority of the instrumentals used, was fantastic. At times, the music was a rich mash-up of well-known Yoruba songs. Some may argue that Yoruba people would like and relate to the music more as a result of this, however ethnicity is not a barrier to appreciating the mood generated by the music at various moments throughout the film.
It is also worth noting the sharp and clear sound production. Sounds that appeared to be routine, such as the crushing of pepper – a mannerism by one of the characters – were intensified for a greater impression.
Glamour Girls: A casting tethered more towards big names than fusible selections (Review)
Glamour Girls is the latest Nollywood addition to the ever-growing list of Nigerian movies on Netflix. Released on the 24th of June, 2022, this drama was produced by Abimbola Craig, whose impressive portfolio includes hits like Isoken, Sugar Rush, and 2022 AMVCA-nominated short-firm, Fractured. The ex-Ndani Tv Head of production once again worked with director and writer, Bunmi Adesoye after a successful collaboration on 2021 movie, Who Lived at Number 6.
The movie stars Nse Ikpe-Etim, Sharon Ooja, Joselyn Dumas, Toke Makinwa and Segilola Ogidan as women enjoying the glamorous lifestyle of top-rated dalliance escorts with the attendant perks and risks of the highly-rewarding business.
Glamour Girls, an eponym of 1994 star-studded Nollywood film, was projected to retell the modernized story of the hit, but was later rescripted as a new narrative that bothers on a more situational theme and totally different characters. Though it is still spiced with a reprising roles from the class of 1994, with legendary actors featuring in their 1994 characters; Ejike Asiegbu yet playing the powerful business mogul and pimp, while Gloria Anozie-Young and Dolly Nwachukwu got flash-scenes in same roles as highly-connected goddesses of the pandering business.
The movie begins with an erotic+ scene at a stripclub, where Emma (Sharon Ooja) is entertaining a VIP guest. She is later accused of stealing the client’s ring by his bodyguard, Zeribe (James Gardiner) and was fired after the it was purportedly found on her. Frustrated and burdened with the demands of being her family’s breadwinner, Emma approaches Donna (Nse Ikpe-Etim), an interior designer moonlighting as a procurer to join her elite league of escorts.
Donna debases Emma and her friends for being too cloddish for her highly-tasteful ring. She mocks them with her girlish-boy assistant, “We are scrapping the bottom of the barrel now, are we? Cheap perfumes. Is that hoarse hair?”. Upon their inability to provide academic qualifications, a sort of requirement for this class of escorts, she shouts them out of her office.
Emma’s determination would her walk right back into Donna’s office. She jumps into striping down to her birth-cloth to showcase her ‘hourglass’ qualification, while lasing with an outburst of her frustrations and determination to ‘upgrade’ her life and career at all cost. Donna reconsiders, a makeover follows, and Emma got admitted to the club of escort sophisticates. Her loutish personality yet posed a challenge to her attempt to win clients until it came handy at one of the hook-up parties, when she wins the affinity of Segun (Femi Branch) with her street chatters while Segun watched a football match. Zeribe, now Segun’s bodyguard had introduced them, more like a peace offering for framing Emma for stealing at the stripclub just to get a free pass at smooching her in guise of searching for the missing ring. He soon becomes a recurrent feature in Emma’s new life of affluence.
A more experienced and successful escort in the ring, Louise (Toke Makinwa), had her duplicitous life well-articulated by funding her husband’s residency in the US far away from the actions back home. She gets a call from Aaron (Uzor Arukwe) who had just arrived Nigeria to surprise her and their two daughters and she’s thrown into a vicious web of meeting client’s needs and managing spousal suspicion.
Jemma (Joselyn Dumas) is the prime of all Donna’s escorts. She had retired into a decent life as a supportive spouse of a terminally ill ex-client and caring mother of a teenage son, Ese. She approaches Donna for a loan to offset an urgent medical bill, but Donna seizes the opportunity to lure her back to work on a major order by Chief Nkem, a long-time customer, and major client of the establishment. After much hesitation she joins the party, where she gets picked by Alexander (Lynxxx), a young business associate and launder-chest of the caucus. The ONS quickly flourishes into a relationship that have Alex and Jemma sharing a roof, after taking her husband off life-support.
Trouble soon hit the pack as Jemma murders Alexander after she catches him molesting her son. Donna comes to the rescue, making Alex’s body disappear and unknowingly setting off an inferno in their entire business and lives. The billionaires are now looking for Alex to recover billions of dollars he launders for them. Jemma, a known companion is prime suspect, along with all the escorts and their boss.
With Louise’s own peculiar situation with Aaron finding her out, Emma’s fight with her past owing to the public humiliation by Segun’s daughter, Hellion’s (Segilola Ogidan) death to drug abuse, the pack rebelled against Donna, asking her to give up Jemma.
Donna takes a trip to Beirut to solicit for the intervention of Queenpin Doris (Gloria Anozie-Young) and Queenpin Thelma (Dolly Nwachukwu), who are believed to wade great powers on the assailing billionaires, but with no definite result. Back home, Zeribe works with Emma to get a hacker to decrypt the content of a flash drive Jemma recovered from Alex’s room, believed to contain information of the funds. The enraged and impatient billionaires in company of a barrage of armed men storms the location of the recovery at a time when all the girls had joined Emma and Zeribe. The girls finally heave a relief after handing the flash back to the billionaires.
Analysis of the plot elements
The characters are depicted as being ambitious and careless at the same time, setting them up for a run against the consequences of bad choices in their thriving business.
Hellion’s unbated dive into reckless and excessive frolicking and drugs costs her life. Louise got it altogether but her extra baggage of staying married caused a chain of events that permanently unsettled her life. Emma rose sporadically from Segun’s spoiling until she started undermining his authority over her as a benefactor. In one little moment of truth, she loosely jumps in bed with Segun’s bodyguard while Segun was still in the house.
Donna followed all her own rules to stay floated until she’s faced with the dilemma of smoking out her long-term partner Jemma for the murder of Alex or laundering the secrets away at the risk of incurring the wrath of her biggest client.
The climax was the scene of the girls apprehensively waiting on the hacker to recover the data of the billionaires money. Emma served Zeribe a plate of his own con meal, outplayed his fast finger tricks by surreptitiously returning the real flash drive of interest he had dropped in her pocket to yet again frame her in front of the billionaire and earned some imagined reward. Zeribe became the culprit, when the flash was found on him and was bounding out to a dire fate.
The denouement was not exactly as expected as the movie ended with the escorts more like $5billion richer and back in business.
The sound was too noticeable and formed a great part of the entire movie. Scenes and actions had one music or the other setting them out.
The settings were a lot Western than it was Nigerian. The clubs, the vacations, race car scenes, jets and hanger parties will sort of resonate more with audiences other than Africans.
The characters were not at their very best and a viewer will find it almost impossible to feel the story’s nuances. A striking example would come from most of Sandra Ooja and Toke Makinwa’s scenes, both apart and together. Their acting gave up the sanctity of role-playing with excessive or inadequate interpretation of the script.
Like the scene where Zeribe picked out a supposedly missing ring from her feet (or so); for a bad street girl who’s innocent of a crime, she would have been more enraged and assaulting than expressed. She just sort of turned to Frances (her boss) to argue her innocence with a squeamish look that gave up a guilty feeling than expected anger.
Maybe the flaws hit more on the not so good work of directing than the movie saw with poor acting. Other issues like the inexplicable pass Emma got back into Donna’s supposedly structured business space (on her quest to join the establishment), and how the entire movie moved to and ended on a small dining area over a flash drive that housed information for $30billion illicit funds begs for further review on how editing passed through the table of Bunmi Adesoye without a grin at these disjoints.
Donna and Jemma were in full character, but Aaron was the personality that came off the movie as immersive. The local igbo man lover becomes lovable just watching him do the language-mixed adulation of ‘Lulu’. Then, the pain of a betrayed husband can be felt when he held out a machete after catching Louise in the act at her shop. The tension can be felt when he ordered Louise out of the road, heading to where the lover was hiding. “Oga you go shit your money today, ehn. Aboy”.
Uzor Arukwe gave life to that script with every tone and gesticulation. Unfortunately though, the tone of the moment was not maximized with the scanty declining sound that would fit better for a scene of hasty conversation between two colleagues down the office hallway. The right sound here would have heightened the mixed feeling of tension and comedy.
The overall production quality was not so good. The sound was here and there; volume issues, transitions issues, choice issues. Choice of music not quite fitting in some occasions, like the scene on a yacht where Emma gets her first trip abroad, the music was so low beat. Maybe a song like I’m on top of the world, would have drawn more emotions here.
Generally, sound design was very poor, video editing not so good as well, casting tethered more towards big names than fusible selections. These diminished the quality input of the cinematographer, excellent acting of Nse, Joselyn, Segiola, Uzor, James, Femi, and the great story that would have been a lot more impactful were the theme not lost to an ending that sort of glorified the procuring and escort business.
By the way, Ejike Asiegbu’s overused sporadic laughter that was intended to infer the character of a sugar daddy was a silly blast from the past; old school Nollywood script interpretation that doesn’t fit quite well with the modern personality of a polished billionaire ‘destiny helper’.
Blood Sisters: Best so far in 2022 (Movie Review)
By Ben Adenle
Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife TV prunes its own vine with Nollywood’s first Netlix Original, which relays exactly, the advantage that streaming services were created to afford. Blood Sisters, the Africa-seated piece that became top ten rated in over 30 countries within the first week of release, is a respectable presentation from a perspective that departs from the deeply-rooted western culture – well knitted African tradition and civilization. It offers yet another wave to Netflix’s expansionist and exploratory viewports of our world through diversified storytelling.
Blood Sister, a four-part series, is a perfect bite-sized binge offering with a running time of under four hours. The film is a slow burn but you get quickly unfolded into the worlds of its characters by way of dialogue rather than action. Once settled in with the initial flux of ideas around the centrality of the character set, you are thrown into the adventure of mystery, climax and anti-climaxes that make the show stickily.
Plot-wise, Sarah (Ini Dima-Okojie) and Kemi (Nancy Isime) are two best friends on the run after Kemi accidental shot Sarah’s powerful pharmaceutical CEO fiancé Kola (Deyemi Okanlawon) to save her life-long friend from being strangulated by Kola. As Sarah and Kemi go deeper into the sordid underbelly of Lagos and start to lose more and more of themselves, they are chased on all sides by the law, Kola’s affluent family, and some other interested parties.
The first episode opens with a somewhat confusing plot – a gregarious wedding party, highlighting the Nigerian culture of ostentatious affluence as often explored by most EbonyLife TV’s big hits. One would prejudicially summarize the show to be the stereotypical story of Nigeria’s social dichotomy and classism. But in a rapid twist that characterize the entire film, it goes on to explore the themes of domestic violence, sexual assault, and female empowerment – topics often ignored in Nigerian films and television.
The voyage in Blood Sisters is exhilarating. You’ll get sucked in from the first episode. The following two episodes are slower-paced, focusing more on character development and backstory than on plot. It goes on to establish a thick network of individuals whose familial, platonic, and romantic ties appear to have grown naturally out of this tight-knit society, with an interesting play of sharp conundrums. We find ourselves laughing at an impromptu dinner speech one second and shuddering at spousal abuse the next in the early scenes. The goal is to quickly and vividly weave together a drapery of viewpoints and characters that all serve to inform even more mystery.
Blood Sisters has a fantastic cast and gorgeous visuals. There are numerous breathtaking vistas of Lagos throughout the film, which has stunning cinematography. For one, you get not to see the rife sight and sound of highbrow areas of Lagos, it detours to explore the views of its ghetto and suburbs so well that you quickly appreciate the literal size of Africa’s most populous city. For those who know Nollywood so well, it’s rather appalling that her biggest actors got rather unusual roles, even ‘waka pass’ (single scene unimportant feature) in some cases. Imagine a big A-lister like Toyin Aimakhu doing a 2-minutes feature and legendary Ramsey Noah shadowing in a body guard role! Unbelievable spend of the best of Nollywood all the down. Even more outrageous is the end of the fourth episode, where most of the cast have been exhausted and one is left to wonder what else is there to see in future episodes. That’s the height of suspense.
Co-directed by two of Nollywood’s most experienced directors, Bibandele and Kenneth Gyang, Blood Sisters did justice to character assembly and theme explication. Bandere’s first two episodes established a central figure, fueled incidents and plight, aptly setting the plot for Gyang’s last two episodes, which amplified the variables of the crisis, broke the attention into subplots and ended with a resolution of the ambiguities.
Sarah and Kemi’s brawl with Uncle B in a shanty, hijacking of Denrele’s car and vicious trip to Epe area of Lagos. Filled with lots of feather-weight actions and beautiful sprinkle of ‘Sisromance’. The story comes home each time Kemi drops the pidgin lines and one but can appreciate the exquisiteness of diversity and the auspicious mutability of language and culture.
Timeyin (Genoveva Umeh) was a great spotlight. Her time at the rehab, pulsating scuttles with fellow degenerates, stack-naked bath time (alien to Nollywood style), stint of the Prison Break shenanigans, were all on a high.
As with most Nollywood’s attempt at actioners, the choreographic delivery of the fight and tussle scenes still fell below international standards. One is quickly awakened to the fact that this is after all, a movie and this is Nollywood! In modern film production the audience is often teleported to the plot and engaged in total derealization. This wasn’t it for Blood Sisters.
Blood Sisters is arguably Nollywood’s best so far in terms of casting, cinematography, directing, screenwriting and general production quality. It seems to advance the success of Blood and Waters, South African teen crime drama television series developed by Gambit Films for Netflix, that was a global hit in 2020. Blood Sister is a further statement that African series have come to corner competitive space in the global hunt for variant storytelling and cultural bilocation.
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