As at August 2022, about 52,000 out of 74,000 inmates in Nigerian prisoners are waiting many years to be served justice; only 3 out of every 10 people languishing in Nigerian prisons have been convicted. What is more pathetic is the circumstances surrounding how some found themselves behind bars and the agonizing situation of spending years in Nigeria’s shanty prisons. If anything is worse than slave trade, it is the black man’s most populous nation’s snare of despair denominated as justice system.
Lanre Olorunnishola was caught in the trap of Nigeria’s unjust system, wrongfully incarcerated and served the sour taste of a dehumanizing prison experience. Unlike the lot of 90% of such victims, he was fortunate enough to get a chance at life after spending 11 days. He goes on to write a book about his experience (called ‘Prison Notes’) and a friend who’s a veteran TV production guru, Chuks Enete partnered to wax the story for the silver screen as his own debut solo film project.
‘Inside Life’ produced by Siloth Studios and distributed by Silverbird Film Distribution is an adaption of Lanre’s story and laudable spotlight on worthy indignation towards Nigeria’s judiciary. The movie by AIT and Iroko TV-famed filmmaker, Chuks Enete was premiered at the Silverbird Galleria on the 8th of September and released to cinemas across Nigeria on the following day. The film is co-written by the story’s protagonist, Lanre Olorunnishola, and Chuks Enete, directed by Tope Adebayo Salami, edited by Dipo Teniola. The movie casted Wole Ojo, Broda Shaggi, Nnedu of Wazobia FM, Romeo WJ, Tina Mba, Koloman, Belinda Effah, Saka, Ropo Ewenla, and Okey Uzoeshi. Others include MC Benkash, Chukwuka Jude, Jerry Okpan, Jay Hemkay, Zara Udofia Ejoh, Yinka Aiyelokun, Peter Oladeji, Funsho Adeolu, Enechukwu Uche, Ekiti Father and Eric Obinna, while Idowu Adedapo is Director of Photography.
Summary of the Story
A few days before his wedding, Larry (Wole Ojo) is assigned to represent his boss at a court hearing, a prolonged civil dispute with the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSTIF), over Chief’s (Larry’s MD played by Chuks Enete) headstrong refusal to pay his dues to the agency, premised on a rebellion against paying government while he bares the skyrocketing cost of running his business alone. The company’s lawyer (played by Okey Uzoeshi) does not show up and NSTIF’s lawyer (Tina Mba) got the magistrate to wrongfully remand Larry in prison as a lesson to the company for disregarding the court process.
Larry needs to fight for his release for his wedding to his sweetheart fiancée (Belinda Effah), but then, he must learn to survive the dire condition of the prison and come out alive regardless. Larry moves from being a dove in the raft of ducks to flirting with the pangs for survival. His initial ability to gain rare privileges with the prison officials earned him enmity with hitherto protective cell lords, but his ingenious charity to all cellmates soon got him affable attention much that the toughest of the lot (played by Broda Shagi) sort out his help, sharing with him even more distressing stories of his own wrongful imprisonment and total despair.
Analysis of the Plot Elements
The movie begins with an aloof brutal murder scene, blacks out, and transitions to a gothic scene of two lovers waking up to early morning curdle and reminiscence of their ‘bedmatic’ through the night. Within the first minute of the plot’s exposition, one can tell the dichotomous style of the plot.
The story slowly moves from the everyday life of young hardworking hopefuls and sharply turns to the details of life’s capriciousness. Maybe this makes a good reason for naming it Inside Life.
To us at Nollytrailers, we think the writers, perhaps riding on the power of epic storytelling, smartly unfolded the story’s main characters, hinting by dialogue and actions, their personalities, and quickly erupting emotive followership for the audience.
The rising actions were a steady climb towards the climax. Larry moves from being a fine eligible bachelor, high-profile staff of his company, who had just been gifted a huge sum as his MD’s support towards his forthcoming wedding, to a stunned witness in the box in a case he had no clue about, then to a benevolent but angry suspect who had to pay for his own transportation to prison, then to a star inmate who has privileged unrestricted access to the chief warder’s office, and then to a co-parker in the rigour and torture of life in a crowded prison cell, with perhaps no certainty of regaining his freedom anytime soon, since the judge on his case has suddenly collapsed and is incapacitated to hear his case on the next adjournment.
The climax came quite full-stack, comically captured by Dele’s (the president of the prison cell) initial wisdom to Larry, “When jungle don mature, okoro go know where him de”. Larry suffers the same fate as other inmates; external visits stopped and privileges vanished as usual contacts either got transferred or put out of reach by other wardens whom he had earlier spoken to arrogantly when he first got there.
The falling actions go on a sublime decent into the closure, but wisely picturing the story’s theme of the importance of faith and the eventual embrace of the miracle-working potency of praying and believing when all other things fail. Larry’s atheist position soon gets transformed once he recognised that only a miracle can get him off the hooks.
From believing to reforming, Larry’s travail captured all the important steps that leads towards the resolution of the story’s critical matter and a restoration to status quo.
There’s a part of the movie that is brilliantly left for the interpretation of the audience, which leaves an intuitive open end – Larry, while in jail, had a dream that his fiancée was celebrating with the company’s lawyer the success of their evil plan to have him reprimanded by trapping him with the lawyer’s absence from court. The dream meant that his most beloved and trusted human was the mastermind of his tribulations.
The writers never gave a material concession to the substance of this dream and as such left it to the imagination of the audience.
Analysis of Creative Elements
If there is anything that stands out with this movie, it is the powerful story it tells. The writers did an incredible job of interpreting Lanre Oluwanishola’s true life story by setting the entire project mainly on the prison experience. Just that would have likely been a bore to the comedy-loving Nigerian audience, but smartly, the script was spiced up with apt comic relieves.
For instance, there’s a scene where Larry was tearing and condemning religion with the assertion that organized religion was a big scam. He shortly realized painfully a little later that his seemly short imprisonment may become elongated. He turns to Dele to wail, complaining also about the rice that was served the prisoners and asking why not yam instead. The cell’s ‘presido’ hits back at his lack of regard for the power of prayers with sarcasm, “The yam you need to chop now na I am than I am”.
The dialogues are brilliant, funny and well laced with wisdom – able to instruct heavily on the irony of a supposedly blessed nation and the agony of its people. Unlike a lot of works that feature an array of comedy skit makers, this did justice to the effort at sprinkling light-hearted-moments without having unnecessary overtures.
Broda Shagi had a brilliant display of street jokes and ‘agberoism’ that is a prefect reflection of the life in a Nigerian prison. Dele was such a perfect character of a hard but wise cell lord, dropping doses of ghetto wisdom – profound in its depth, but crude and funny in its tone. One noteworthy excerpt is his stump reaction to Larry’s denial of reality, where he encouraged him to eat what was served in prison. In response to Larry’s insistence that he had no appetite, Dele goes “Designer prisoner. You no get appetite ba, no worry jungle go soon mature and you go know say last last Mandela chop Apartheid”.
Quite a rib-cracking joke but also an en explosive dialogue that connects the realities of the unjust justice system of Apartheid South Africa to that of present day Nigeria. It also delves into the projection of the fate of the character who seem too headstrong to embrace the present and will be well on the way to spending a long time in prison if he does not explore the power for miracles.
Casting and Characterization
Most of the actors were in character, though a few would have done better. Chief (The MD) played by the executive producer himself, Chuks Enete, beyond the apt ‘Ogene’ sounds that accentuated his scenes, was short of perfect in roleplaying. There was an obvious effort to fit into the personality of a crude wealthy Igbo businessman. This easily give up the mystery that ought to come with interpreting the role and therefore is below the current industry standard.
Belinda Effah was also not at her best. Her interpretation of a devastated fiancée visiting her partner in jail was short of believability. She acted and sounded like a starter in a drama rehearsal. Watching her, the character’s pain could not be felt, her confusion was not obvious and expected exasperation towards the company was totally silent.
Wole Ojo delivered Larry’s character to the fullest. Every step of the way, there was no emotion, personality or nuances of the character that was not communicated; Larry’s ego was depicted in and off the mic and the personality transformations were well captured in his acting. Kudos!
Brother Shaggi and Nedu did justice to the characters of leading the ‘Ikoyi vs Agege’ strata of the prison; personalities, checked! Dialogue, checked! Actions and reactions, checked!
The casting is also quite good. Love the minor roles of the big names like Tina Mba and Funsho Adeolu. The cast, safe for a few snags, by frame and personality fused perfectly into the plot of the story and delivered quite well its themes.
Directing is but an okay job for this movie. There are obvious issues with the sets, costumes and transitions that ought not to have skipped the calls of Dipo Teniola and Tope Adebayo.
For instance the costume is totally unbelievable! Here are prisoners who have stayed an average of 2 years in jail, all having stylish clean shaves. The dialogue at the chief warden’s office hinted that Larry was going into a 35-man cell, the shots were set in a less than 15-man prison, almost scanty.
Dipo Adedapo may have given his best to this but there are certainly no wow moments from the filming of this movie. It is nothing more than basic shots.
There were efforts to add some creativity through camera techniques but that also fell flat – the filming at a tilted angle combined with shaky panning just didn’t work quite well.
The lighting at the main set also could have been better. In fact, it presented the cinematographer an opportunity to display creativity, given that over 70% of the movie was shot on that set. Nigerian prisons are often quite dark, poorly ventilated with walls riddled with amateurish graffiti. Dapo could have ridden on this to explore tricks like off-subject shots in silhouette or playing creatively with exposure, extra lighting for focus matter or even sunrays-drop background for early morning dialogues, etc.
Tosin Amire, the young FUTA graduate of Applied Mathematics turned sound designer, did a great job on the sound design for this film. The sound in some scenes helped to enliven the poor performance of some acts, like that of Chief (The ‘igbotic’ MD). Though the sound production quality could have been better, but the large-scale original compositions were good and aptly distributed across the movie’s scenes.
The overall production quality is average. This is owing to the less emphasis placed on Directing and Cinematography. This would have easily been a 4 star movie.
Inside Life is easily a high-recommendation movie chiefly because of its powerful story, theme and overall message to the nation. It is also a good pick for a couple’s date night (would have been great for a family was it not for the few scenes of gunshots). You will be sure to really get cracked up seeing this movie.
Hit the cinemas to see for yourselves, better with company though, you don’t want to deal with laughing and falling on a stranger’s shoulders if you are alone. You might just receive sneer or slap. In the words of Broda Shagi in the film, “Who de microwave liver for you?”
Ayefele turns prophet in Bayo Kaakaki’s tepid new work, Rubicon (Review)
Rubicon is a movie set in the ancient city of Ibadan, produced by Starkingdom Productions and an initiative broadcaster Dr. Adebayo Faleke of Fresh FM Nigeria. The drama with dialogue entirely in Yoruba but well subtitled in English was produced in 2021 but released to the cinemas across Nigeria on the 12th of August 2022.
Adebayo Faleke who doubled as the main cast and the producer is no doubt living up to the billing as a multi-talented communicator. He only a few years ago authored a book: Dilemmas of a Country.
Before then, he had launched National Cake and Banana Republic, audiovisual records that exposed the mismanagement of so-called leaders in Nigeria.
In a press conference before the release of Rubicon, Dr Faleke once again hinged his inspiration for this new work on the need to “…inspire the people to do the needful in order to correct the mistakes of the past which include vote selling, conscience selling, corrupt practices and other political anomalies” as Nigeria’s general election draws close.
Bayo O or Bayo Kaakaki, as fondly called, is a brilliant Yoruba newscaster and entertainer whose impact in the Ibadan radio industry is undisputed. The director on the set of Rubicon is Ade Idris Jerry, a fast-growing director often adjudged to possess a good sense of interpreting scripts in unique and different ways.
Rubicon assembles A-list actors, entertainers, and broadcasters in what seems more like the marriage of the best of new and traditional media. Among these are Yoruba movie-industry-famed actors like Akin Lewis, Saidi Balogun, Taiwo Ibikunle, Awoyemi Bukola (AKA Arugba); comic acts and skit makers, Debo ‘Mr Macaroni’ Adedayo, Ayo Ayewole ‘Woli Agba’, and superstar music maestro and media investor, Yinka Ayefele, who also is Dr Faleke’s boss. Ace broadcasters like Kola Olootu and Alhaji Abolade Salami also had short but vital roles in this projected.
Summary of the story
Rubicon (Agbedemeji) follows the story of Adesola Adigun (Dr Faleke) a famous OAP with high moral standards and principles that sees him undermine his basic livelihood and personal safety to hang on to his beliefs when caught up between accepting a life-transforming publicity deal from a corrupt politician and facing rejection consequences. Adigun’s wife, played by Awoyemi Bukola had just moved out and separated from him after numerous arguments about his inability to meet with bare necessities despite the numerous opportunities available to him to enrich himself with his fame.
Adigun’s integrity is further tested when Dr Tayo (played by Richardo Agbor) who was just appointed as Senator Ipadeola’s political strategist in the build up to the gubernatorial elections, proposed using him as leverage to win the love of the masses. The management of Kaakaki FM and Adigun were approached with an outrageous offer that would turn everyone involved into millionaires, but Adigun’s outright refusal soon precipitated pressures from his boss, the General Manager of the station, played by Saidi Balogun. After several attempts to put Adigun ‘on the side of reason’, the GM fired him for his indiscretion, and Adigun after some short period of joblessness took his childhood friend and industry colleague, Debo (Mr Macaroni)’s advice, approached a bigger radio station, Fresh FM with the backing of some brands to reinstate his popular radio show.
While Adigun’s alternative to “selling a black market”, in the manner of corrupt Senator Ipadeola seemed to have calmed the storm in his life, he’s soon faced with the threat of his own dirty past coming public and discrediting his new posture of uprightness. Adigun goes on to take a brazen ‘tell all’ stand during his live show and by that irked his now inimical suitor, Senator Ipadeola. Adigun is shortly after arrested for possessing an unregistered rifle and stands with the fate of most poor, ‘unconnected’ masses who ever dared to contend with the powerful few of Nigeria.
Analyses of plot elements
Nothing about this movie is new to Nollywood storytelling. The themes of love, betrayal, and triumph are typical of any script dating back to the earliest years of filmmaking in the 1950s. The plot, therefore, has no significant impact on the viewership journey of moviegoers, who would easily hint at the next scene.
The introduction of the character was rushed up. Within the first few scenes one can tell what everyone was about, without no significant emotional attachment. This is except for the character Mr Macroni played, which the script smartly deployed the ‘hint and tell later’ technique to unveil. The ultimate theme of morality comes straight at you from the start and you can quickly relate with the style of Dr Faleke’s previous projects.
In a similar manner to the exposition element of the plot, the rising action mounts quite quickly and holds the viewers’ to a long wait for the climax, which only comes at the tail-end of the movie.
The falling action is silent and can even be missed, as the writers went for emphasizing the denouement (closure), which is a normal technique in Yoruba storytelling.
Analyses of creative elements
Music and sound design for this work is very poor. It is as low-standard as the lighting, set design, and cinematography. One would wonder how it ever made it to the cinema. This may make reason for how Nollytrailers was the only person in the hall at Viva Cinema, Ikeja when he went to see the movie.
Though the casting is great for marketing, with all the big names across three key sectors of the entertainment and media industries, the fitting of the roles is very questionable. Besides the excellent delivery of Akin Lewis, Mr Macaroni and Arugba, most other major actors, inclusive of the main cast himself, were amateurish.
Wole Agba’s acting was terrible, his costume and make-up, even worse. He looks like a child acting like a 42 or 45 year old elder brother. This is no comedy skit, this movie was purposed for the big screen!
Adigun’s character was not fully explored and the emotive part was poorly executed. For instance, the scene where Adigun was caught by the police and was being interrogated; he obviously wailed without a single tear. Another scene that points to the abysmal roleplaying was when he was at the bar with his friend (Mr Macroni) discussing his predicament and was advised to take the offer from Senator Ipadeola; Dr Faleke was to interpret the character of an enraged Adigun rebuking his friend, but acted more like an indulgent parent scolding a four-year old.
Wole Agba and Dr Faleke’s scene on Adigun’s visit to his supposed wife’s elder brother to beg for his wife’s return was a charade! The attempt at interplaying comedy and pain fell flat on the floor.
Though the story is trite and sometimes outrightly unbelievable – like the assertion by the Political Strategist that Adigun and his fan base can earn Senator Ipadeola 70% of the votes (impracticable in reality), some parts are brilliantly interpreted to earn a niche medal. One of that brilliance is seen in how they played Yinka Ayefele as a prophet without the stereotype of singing in a wheelchair. It is noteworthy also that the entertainer did a good job with the script.
The story’s touch on the menace of upcoming artiste bribing to get their songs played on radio is also a commendable effort to spotlight societal ills. This short cutaway in the movie raises attention to the long-standing debate on copyright infringements between musical artistes and broadcast stations.
Praiseworthy also is the attention on the evil of religious leaders availing themselves as political levers, helping our evil leaders cow the masses. The attempt to ‘enter’ Adigun through his prophet (Yinka Ayefele) by donating to the church project and the bible verses bartering between Adigun and the prophet is a brilliant messaging to the church.
The writers also did well with the twist when Adunni, Adigun’s new housemaid was caught with a bundle of cash while attempting to run away after her boss was caught and detained for having an unregistered rifle. At that moment, you would just roll your eyes, thinking ‘what a bland falling action’, until it turns out that she only stole, she wasn’t the one who planted the gun!
Laudable also was the projection of Adigun’s wife as supportive in the face of tribulation. Despite the fact that they were separated, she fervently prayed for him, held to and propagated the firm belief in her husband’s integrity, and sort out help that eventually got him off the hook.
The final parts of the movie also silently communicated the sad reality of life; that in the constellations of evil, greed, love for bad news and exaggerated rumour mongering in Nigeria, when retribution comes knocking, some evil people will manage to escape. That is the case for Adigun’s colleague at Kakaki FM, who Adigun had found out was taking bribes from musical artistes to play their songs, reported his matter to GM and was allowed to slide because it was a syndicate of bribe-taking the GM himself chaired. The same colleague venomously wrote an exaggerated news report to announce Adigun’s arrest on their station. Well, after Adigun’s triumph over his travesty, reinstatement to Kaakaki FM, and promotion to the position of GM, the very guy was one of those that welcomed him back with a big smile, like nothing ever happened! Smaller bad eggs often survive the tsunami of change.
In the film, there were several attempts to slide in comic reliefs, but failed brutally (Woli Agba was not just delivering). But there’s one scene that will really get you cracking and it is another occasion when Wole Agba and Bukola (Arugba) quarreled over the travail of her husband and her brother’s trivialization of the matter. She was praying when he walks in and mockingly joined her, then she had to reprimand him. After few back and forth ‘jabbing’, Wole Agba goes, “As you were praying I remembered when God called me and I didn’t write down the date, oh, if only I did…now I am seeing angels in this asbestos ceilings…” Lol.
The overall production quality of this movie is far lower than the current industry standard. It falls short in many ways.
Directing, for instance, could have been much better. The director, Ade Jerry, who featured himself was not quite impressive. A lot of the scenes ought to have been reshot. More importantly, the flow of the story is a bit distorted; How do you reconcile that Adigun, who was portrayed as a very homely man, after being told that the wife was behind his release from prison, did not meet and reconcile with her until she suddenly shows up in the last scene, when he was reinstated back and being celebrated at Kakaki FM. This was a typical Yoruba movie way of not leaving anything to the imagination; make sure all doors opened in the course of the story must be closed at the end.
For the few comic reliefs and the important messages in this film, viewers can take a shot at seeing it. Maybe their judgment may be different.
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.
Hey You! Have you seen erotic and intense Nollywood movie recently? (Review)
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.
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