A wealthy hunk with a randy father, what better recipe is there for baking a life filled with women and its ancillary wahala? This summarily paints the background of the 2021 high-grossing film, Tanwa Savage.
Uzor! Since ‘Inspector Sam’ character stole the limelight in the 2017 movie, Sergeant Tutu, bulky actor, Uzor Arukwe has become an alluring sight on Nigeria’s silver screen. Here in Tanwa Savage, he takes a break from the smart cop/detective stereotype to project the dysfunctional life of a polygamous man as Jola Savage.
Jola relies on the impulse of his ‘third leg’ in search of a solution to his most embarrassing problem – childlessness. He ended up with “three answers to his prayer” as three women announces their pregnancy to him in quick successions in a single scene. Jolaoluwa goes from initial ecstasy when his wife’s friend, scouting with the couple confronted him with the news of her pregnancy. Jola wants to just break the news to his naïve wife, regardless of it being the result of adultery right under Zainab’s nose. Finally, his dream comes true, he’s going to be a father, nothing else matters!
But Zainab shows up right in the middle of the excitement to the break her own news – she’s finally pregnant for her beloved husband after several years of trying and waiting. Tosin, played by curvy screen goddess, Bimbo Ademoye, cut through the awkward silence occasioned by Zainab’s pregnancy news to smash the shameful revelation of her illicit romance with her friend’s husband right in her face. This was supposed to be the happiest day of Jola and Zainab’s life, but Tosin goes ahead to surprise her friend with the further news of her pregnancy. The scene wouldn’t climax yet until Uju shows up to add the ‘BIA’ to Jola’s WAZOBIA pregnancy distribution project. Nkechi Blessing bounces in alongside her vast backside to spice up the ridiculousness even further, with a news of her own incoming Jola Jnr.
In the midst of all the madness, Linda Osifo delivers the character of a classy, grieving, betrayed pregnant wife, who’s got to deal with the menace her husband’s promiscuity has brought to their hitherto peaceful home. Jola’s father, played by veteran actor, Segun Arinze, talks him into accepting Uju’s forceful move-in into the Savage’s mansion and his world takes a turmoil twist, which the whole movie sorts to interpret in various comical forms.
Storyteller/Filmaker, Geshin Salvador may have put in a great effort to illustrate the world of a young family booted into dysfunctionality by the mistakes arising from the social pressures of having a child. One would imagine that every scene was an effort to paint a bifurcate of consequences and comedy of ‘when life happens’. Jola had to pay the price of adultery, but the nuances of his implied ‘playboyrism’ never got a clear show. Here was Jola, rich and handsome son of an influential womanizer, who himself has been hopping around the behinds of various kinds of babes, much so that Uju was a girl he snatched from his bosom friend, becoming chivalry to them girls all because they claimed to be pregnant. Kind of far from reality. At that height of success in reality, Jola would rather procure the care for the other two girls now that his very beloveth wife is pregnant too. Jola is depicted as caring and compassionate, yet cold and self-indulging. Maybe a deliberate twist of the writer, but the delivery leaves a gap in the mind of viewers as to the actual personality of the character.
Directing surely was of low performance in this movie. The scuttles scenes had punchlines falling flat, jabs hanging in the air and too much of noise making rather. The effort to put a Yoruba fowl-mouthed against an Igbo crazy ‘bitch’ didn’t quite play out well. Nkechi Blessing definitely didn’t deliver on the script – very unbeliever character, exaggerated interpretations. Tosin and Uju ‘sub’-trading were all over the place, didn’t quite elicit natural laughter. Viewers would struggle to understand the emotions they sort to stare in their arguments.
Zainab was a perfect character until the effort to infer some scenes through flashbacks, imaginations and suspense, leaves one wondering what her character was all about. Her affair with Michael, played by Timini, was supposed to be a twist, but played out has a passing act of human frailty. Most other effort at ‘curving’ the story, like the discovery that Jola’s friend was the father of Uju’s child, were very unbelievable interactions. For instance, the nurse congratulating Jola’s friend at the hospital is too basic a reason for Jola to ‘suddenly discover’ that the child might be his friend’s. For a man who’s longed to see his first child and knew his friend was ‘standing in’ for him at the hospital during Uju’s delivery, that a nurse comes out to congratulate the man that had brought the patient to the hospital does not affirm anything. Most allusions and conclusions of the script fall under this belt of ‘not convincing’ enough.
There were highlights that characterize a typical Nigerian plot in scenes where Jola has to run across three rooms in the middle of the night when all three heavily pregnant women needed his attention, and were Jola’s father was treated to the rowdiness and confusion he convinced his son to live with, much that he had to scream for help. The funniest of all may be when Tosin (Bimbo Ademoye) told Jola that “it was Jola Junior that was calling you but you ignored…I wanted to vomit and I wanted you to bring bowl for me to vomit, but as you ignored me the vomit now ignored me”. The blandest scene was where the three women were trying to bid Jola farewell on his way to work. Like that was going on with the ‘Gucci perfume” thing? And the flat comical effort of calling the security to come take gift from Tosin? Also, the scene of Jola’s father brining in a curvy lady to become his housemaid should not be in that movie. It’s a waste of viewer’s time!
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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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