It’s the third week in April. A whole quarter has passed in 2018 and this is the second Nollywood film I’m writing a review for.
This is not because there have been only two releases (even though the release schedule thus far has not been exciting), or that I’ve seen just two films … (now that I think about it, OK no, I’ve seen more than two), or that these two films were stellar, (you already know what I think of Royal Hibiscus Hotel, if not click HERE).
A primary reason cannot be clearly stated as it ranges from being a bit demotivated by the insipid nature of our Cinema content (I say Cinema because there are some gems on other platforms), realizing I’m more motivated to tell people about Nollywood films they can enjoy than otherwise; being utterly ‘under the table’ with my day job (I don’t consider this an excuse but it’s a reality), and spending a lot of my ‘Cinema quota’ watching Black Panther and The Greatest Showman at least 5 times each – Sorry Nollywood.
Anyways, if you clicked this link just because you’re still trying to decide whether to watch New Money, I would say go watch it (P.S. it’s almost out of all Cinemas). It’s no mind blowing spectacle and you’re probably not going to scream from the mountains about the fascinating story, written by Naz Onuzo. However, you would most likely not hate it – or maybe you would.
If you’re here cos, ‘Yaay new post’, or you just enjoy what this MoviePencil guy writes about, thank you, and please carry on.
Directed by Tope Oshin, New Money focuses on a story that most Nigerians possibly wish for in their realities; rich relative kicks the bucket and leaves one all his wealth. Abeg who hard work and toiling for returns epp? What is a Sigmoid Curve and why do you have to make life so complex? Please how can we get this money and how can we get it now?! Lord, let it happen – don’t be shy, you know you’ve said this prayer before.
In this instance, the story revolves around Toun Odumosu (Jemima Osunde), a young shop attendant, who is surprised when her presumed dead father actually goes to the ancestral plane, willing her a bulk load of riches. This results in some friction between Toun and her mother (the ever beautiful and snatched Kate Henshaw), cos well, mama lied to her for so long. It also shows some typical Island people behaviour, at least when folks first move from the mainland – flamboyant paparazzi.
But this is not all the film has to offer. New money translates the ordeal of a young lady coming into herself before being thrown into an unfamiliar world. It also narrates her struggle to find balance with the sudden mammoth responsibilities heaped on her shoulders. To be clear, the story is anything but original, and considering it’s a movie, it piles up the unrealistic for the audience to swallow. But then again, who wants to enjoy reality in the Cinema, of course no one.
Nonetheless, the story is spiced with some Naija flavour – accentuated with dose, upon dose, upon dose, of Simi’s music and Falz too I might add. This initially felt like a good thing, till it became a derivative way to tell the story with minimal acting from the cast. The costuming is also quite nice, showcasing what a beautiful cast we have entertaining us. Then there’s our favourite Nollywood ingredient, Comedy – though in this case, we are not nauseated with/by it. In fact, permit me to state here that two of the most successful translators of comedy in film for me are Falz and Wofaifada.
Just before I start boring you, like some aspects of the film surely did, what I found the most endearing in New Money was the flicker of effective performances laced in scenes across the film. Both Male and Female cast from Osas Ajibade to Dakore Akande to Kate Henshaw – who prove that Nollywood actors can embody characters, to Adeolu Adefarasin, who I just wanted to slap thoughout the film – but who leaves his presence on the screen, to the plethora of love interests for our ‘Miss New Money’. Did I mention that I loved Wofaifada and Falz, especially Wofaifada – there’s a distinct quality to her delivery of lines and the mannerism / facial expressions she chooses to emote.
This review will not be complete without an evaluation of our lead character Toun. For some reason, I’ve enjoyed Jemima more in the short films and web series I’ve seen her in. She’s a fine actor and deserves the Nollywood ‘It Girl’ status she’s currently enjoying. However, I’ve struggled with the major characters she’s played on the big screen. Here, Toun is not the most practical of individuals, she also is suffering from the concept Yoruba’s phrase as, ‘Omode lo n se’ – meaning what more can you expect from a kid (literal meaning, she’s just being a kid).
But most of this is as a result of the writing. There’s no way we can expect a young girl with no evident business training, with little shop girl and Buka managing experience, and a creative knack to jump into running a conglomerate and know what to do. It’s hard enough that she’s not experienced, she’s now a Nigerian creative! Maybe a little more focus on the intense coaching she should have received to equip her for the newly inherited role could have sold it for me. Notwithstanding, Jemima carried the role and does not fall flat on her face.
There’s just one more thing to note: I didn’t like the look of the film for some reason. I don’t know if it was because I saw it on the IMAX screen – which can expose all technical shortcomings, or that the grading wasn’t as effective for the riches being boasted. Whatever the case, you feem people should please stop calling all this big money anyhow. That’s how one brother said he bought ₦250million hotel for one sister like this in one other film like that.
New Money is still showing in select Cinemas, so if you haven’t seen it, you can try it out and let me know what you think afterwards. For those of you who have seen it though, what did you think? Share your comments below.