This movie is a directorial effort of the award winning Nigerian film auteur, Izu Ojukwu.
Until the title was recommended to me, I didn’t really feel the publicity of the film.
A true life epic love story of a young couple that wrestles mental health challenge inflicted on the bride on her wedding day.
Okay, generally the film is a masterpiece of visual art, especially on cinematography and production design. If you are a fan of ‘old school’ nostalgia, you will find the art direction irresistible.
The story is linear with an attempt of suspense that refuses to suspend – maybe for me though (talking about why Richard Mofe-Damijo – RMD spent the community’s money).
I like the fact that the wife’s mental illness is attributed to medical defect from poison, and not paranormal phenomenon that is synonymous with Nollywood narratives.
Unless you are a critical or technical audience, not everyone will notice the chroma effects. In plotting that, Izu really did a yeoman’s job in my estimate. And I think to achieve such period ‘back-to-the-past’ film, studio and green walls are key, just like they must key.
The twist of the money coming from Reverend Father, introduction of the white lady and final settlement of outstanding debt is somewhat unconvincing though.
Generally, I would like to know the consumption pattern of the movie in the weeks ahead. It is too early to talk about the number of eyeballs.
I also think Izu’s penchant for oscillating between arthouse and commercial films impends the commercial viability of his films in most cases. That’s not a sin anyway, the choice is his and his sponsors.
The typical “you mock me, I revenge” syndrome that is synonymous with ‘Igbonglish’ films prominently featured in the plot. Though, the execution of the poison is more pedestrian compared to the regular Upper Iweka road directors – too cheap.
I like the palm oil processing depiction. We need to feature our indigenous crafts and trades regularly. It invokes cultural memory and positions our cultural products for world recognition.
The traditional marriage is also good as cultural exhibition of Nigeria’s specs.
The use of relics and vintage cars will make you go green with envy.
Here and there. The wigs on the male casts could make you throw up. Maybe because I was not born in the 40s and 60s anyway.
Character and characterisation?
As usual, Chiwetalu Agu is stereotyped as a regular over-acting character – his trade in stock. But for others, their acting is not bad.
RMD (Hillary) is too rigid and flat. I doubt if the emotional preparation is intensed.
There is a struggle to pin his dialogue to his acting.
Nse Ikpe-Etim (Theresa) gave her best in particularisation and immersion. But the camera angles didn’t do justice to her role interpretation. She deserves pity through empathy, unfortunately, I see Nse, not Theresa, in the film.
The eldest daughter and narrator (Essien) looks real and infectious. Perhaps because she is relatively unknown.
Alli Baba tries not to be a comedian, but it’s a difficult task on the part of the viewer to disconnect his permanently etched funny optics.
Seun Akindele (younger Hillary) could not get out of his Yorubaness to properly fit into the Igboness, a weakness that is explained with dialogue.
For Teni Makanaki and Broda Shaggy, I don’t know their usefulness, music relevance and act in the movie. I think this is a real issue with table casting.
Generally, I think Izu paid more attention to cinematography and production designs than other aspects of the production life cycle.
4-4-44 is a lesson about love, loyalty and perseverance.
The movie is on Prime Video. Take your time to see it and let’s compare notes.
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Did you know that a storey building was burnt down for the sake of a movie about a prostitute?
If you think I’m lying? Then watch the movie here.
A Tribe Called Judah: And so what?!
By Victor Ojelabi
“A Tribe Called Judah” is not your typical movie about the teachings of the Christian faith; it’s a wild ride that challenges conventional norms.
While the storyline might seem contradictory to religious principles, the film’s engaging narrative and stellar production make it a must-watch.
Produced by the talented Funke Akindele, the movie revolves around five brothers faced with the daunting task of raising funds for their ailing mother’s kidney dialysis. Their solution? A daring plan to rob one of their sibling’s wealthy boss.
Akindele’s dedication to this project is evident, with the film boasting twists, turns, and a level of professionalism that cements her position in Africa’s thriving film industry.
The five brothers, born into a family unapologetic about their unconventional origins, embark on a heist to steal over $2 million from an upscale furniture company.
The plot thickens as their well-planned operation takes an unexpected turn when another group attempts to pull off the same daring theft.
The movie not only delivers an engaging heist story but also tackles pertinent social issues. It defends women’s rights, condemns domestic abuse, empowers single mothers, advocates against alcohol abuse, and ensures that justice is served.
While “A Tribe Called Judah” may not be an adrenaline-pumping action movie, its well-delivered messages, impactful dialogues, and excellent cast choices make it a standout production. She still found a place to tuck in the forgiven Toyo, even if it’s just a waka pass. Forgive na forgive.
The film serves as a testament to Akindele’s storytelling prowess and her ability to weave together diverse themes seamlessly.
One of the movie’s strengths lies in its relatability, offering several takeaways for the audience. Whether it’s defending marginalized groups or promoting social consciousness, the film strikes a balance between entertainment and meaningful commentary.
However, one may still need to investigate the type of pistols used in the movie as they only seem to run out bullets as the director needed and how a direct shot through the right side of the back goes straight through the heart to kill someone.
Akindele’s latest work, having grossed over N1 billion at the box office, marks a historic achievement in African cinema.
“A Tribe Called Judah” is more than just a heist movie; it’s a captivating exploration of family dynamics and societal challenges, making it a worthy addition to your must-watch list.
Stream It Or Skip It: ‘The Black Book’ on Netflix, A Revenge Thriller from the Streets of Nigeria
You know Hollywood, you’ve at least heard of Bollywood, but do you know … Nollywood? That’s Nigeria’s film industry, which is booming enough to give its cinema a catchy name with some cultural caché. Netflix is even getting in on the action with The Black Book, now streaming on their platform.
THE BLACK BOOK: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
The Gist: Corruption is running rampant in contemporary Nigeria within the world of The Black Book, so much so that the police can just openly kill a young man on a beach and expect no consequences for it. But they don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into this time because bereaved father Paul Edima (Richard Mofe-Damijo) is far more than just the pacifistic deacon that he appears. Paul has a checkered past in the country’s military that he’s tried to bury even in his own mind, but the soldier in him re-emerges to take justice into his own hands. Enmeshing himself once more in the web of violence and corruption is not something he takes on alone, however. His journey nack into the underworld that he once inhabited requires engaging with some old allies as well as a surprising new one: a crusading journalist intent on using the press to expose the country’s bad actors.
Performance Worth Watching: The leads fighting for justice in their own way are good, but it’s Shaffy Bello as Big Daddy who proves the real MVP of The Black Book. She (yes, you read that pronoun right) is a force of nature in her capacity as a high-powered enforcer.
Memorable Dialogue: “The past must die to truly serve the future.” A line so nice they say it twice, once at the beginning without context and again at the end when it means something very different.
Sex and Skin: The Black Book stays focused on the action in the streets, not between the sheets.
Our Take: There’s plenty to admire in co-writer/director Editi Effiong’s dramatic thriller, but there’s little that really inspires a viewer to really lean forward in their seats. It’s always pitched between two very different ways a movie can be without fully committing to either. For example, it’s partially a character study of Paul’s final reckoning with the past, but it’s also somewhat allegorical for the Nigerian nation on the whole. Technically sound filmmaking can only go so far within a work that doesn’t really have a strong sense of what it wants to be. It can’t help but be a bit deflating to watch the big final scenes and know that they could have been a real wallop with a full film’s worth of momentum behind them.
Our Call: SKIP IT. The Black Book is not nearly bloody nor brooding enough. There are interesting components in this Nigerian thriller, but without a stronger sense of cohesion between plot and style, it feels instantly forgettable.
Marshall Shaffer is a New York-based freelance film journalist. In addition to Decider, his work has also appeared on Slashfilm, Slant, The Playlist and many other outlets. Some day soon, everyone will realize how right he is about Spring Breakers.
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