I will admit that it has been a while since I watched a Nigerian movie (I think the last one I watched was the last Jenifa film which I thoroughly enjoyed), but I am really glad I chose Ije as the movie to step back into Nollywood films with.
While I was impressed with how superbly comedic Jenifa was I was thoroughly taken by how well told the story and acting was in Ije.
The beginning of this DVD (which is out now and costs just N500) had a message from the Victims Outreach for Women Foundation about the situation of rape and violence against women in the African continent which although was very short, was very impactful. It was done with great taste, passing on the intended message and hitting a nerve somewhere in the heart. Remember to ‘Take a VOW’ because rightly put, the individual has a lot to play in the situations going on in the world; never underestimate the power of one!
On to my review…..
I don’t know if it is because I have not seen a Nigerian movie in a bit (now I’m covering my face as I say this) but the plot and production of this movie just made so much sense to me. The story was not over stretched or over acted, the picture quality was really good and even though the part where Anya was allowed to give the closing argument didn’t seem so believable to me, I felt like the movie was well thought about and whole; the flashbacks were kinda cool too, filling the gaps for us.
The makers obviously felt like genuine movie makers, not some rubbish story patched together to make some quick buck. If I am going to be honest, I enjoyed watching this more than a lot of the Hollywood garbage that has come my way this year (I will not mention any names).
[toggle title=”Cast“]Chioma Opara played by Genevieve Nnaji
From the beginning till the end of this film, I did not know why they put Genevieve’s name first because I felt the protagonist in this story was Anya, but I’ll let it slide (it’s their choice anyways).
This woman is a good actress, a really good one. She has a way of making her character so believable that there were times I was cheering her on; does anyone remember, ‘you think these streets are tough, come to Lagos, wa riran!’
The character was not fully explained though: I understand her leaving to the US to help her sister, but for somebody who was in the US as a visitor, she sure seemed to have settled down pretty well and for someone who was supposed to be desperate about seeing her sister go free, she sure had a good time falling in love with lawyer boy and giving him all the goodies.
Anya Michino played by Omotola Jalade
To be honest with you, sometimes I find it very funny how stories spread in local settings that make everything in the ‘big city’ sound so fascinating. Imagine how stories (which could have been the only thing this character would have heard as a kid) had fuelled her desire to want to leave her town to the greener pastures of America.
Till tomorrow, I still come across people such as this who believe that life is ‘better’ anywhere but where they currently are. My question to them usually goes thus: Do you believe a developed nation is out there so they can welcome you with outstretched arms saying, ‘Aww, we’ve been waiting for you!’ Definitely not!
If you look at the prosecution’s stand in the trial, it was all bordered on how she felt she could come and reap where she had not sown. Even as the wife of the deceased, she wasn’t really treated as such because of their mindset that all immigrants are leeches.
This character was played solidly by Omotola and you could almost see the strong shell she had built around herself to protect her emotionally because of all she had gone through.
Jalen Turner played by Ulrich Que
This guy, this guy! I have a feeling all them ladies will fall in love with him. He was good in his role too, in fact, I totally enjoyed his naivety and the David vs. Goliath role he had to play. I hope he becomes a bigger star in his home country because he looks like he has some serious potential. See how Chioma see fine boy come fall for am. Hmmm!
[toggle title=”Supporting Cast“]This movie was superbly cast in my opinion. The prosecutor wanted to draw blood, the initial defence felt she was so good and was cocky enough to tell Jalen she would take back the case from his inexperienced hands, the Chinese landlady was so funny (I think I enjoyed her character most) and Odalys Garcia was toned down plenty to look like the maid character. I will not end without mentioning Clem Ohameze, the father who Anya was trying to protect/impress from 3000 miles away.[/toggle]
This movie was a great watch, one of my top films this year. Not because it was one of the best movies made recently but because, for a Nigerian film, you can literally see and smell the hard work that was put into making the film superbly above the normal standards.
Congratulations to Chineze Anyaene. I will definitely be watching out for you my dear.