This year has been great for Nigerian movie makers and creatives in general. A lot of amazing movies hit cinemas this year and picking a top 10 was almost as hard as picking a favorite twin child. See the list below
- The Bridge
Easily the best of the films Kunle Afolayan put out this year, The Bridge is a flawed yet hugely entertaining discourse on the influence of tradition in modern day living. Produced by Lasun Ray, the Bridge uses the love story between a Yoruba man and an Igbo lady to narrate a Nigerian version of the eternal Romeo and Juliet tale. It works when it does.
- The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai
Just like the first film, The Wedding Party: Destination Dubai is overpopulated with supporting characters and cameo appearances, in equal turns hit and miss. More of the same isn’t necessarily bad, but more of the same gets old fast. The sequel to Nollywood’s biggest film delivers exactly what it promises, no more no less. It isn’t better than it has a right to be, and no worse than it could have been..
- Slow Country
It would be unjust to dismiss Slow Country as a minor work from a promising auteur as it is definitely much more than that. Pretty obvious Aghimien has plenty more things to teach Nollywood. Someone just needs to give him a budget worth his talent. Slow Country moves with a deliberate pace until it gets to the bloody shootout that is really where director Eric Aghimien’s heart lies.
- Couple’s Award
The central quartet of actors (Gbenro Ajibade, Kehinde Olorunyomi, Frankincense Eche Ben and Regina Chukwu) are able to reach for emotions that are true to what their characters are all about. They are all aptly cast and are terribly effective at conveying the essence of whatever emotions and situations their characters are going through. The writing is simple and uncluttered and the director rallies the film beyond the silly first beginning and builds up to something decent.
- King Invincible
Directed by Femi Adisa who says he conceived the story as far back as 2003 but had to wait over ten years for the resources to realize his vision, King Invincible is a decent attempt at genre filmmaking, in this case, the period piece drama, or in Nollywood parlance, the ‘’epic’’. With its reliance on prophecies, overriding presence of the unseen Oba Airi and pro-divine intervention leanings, King Invincible can be approached as a faith based project, serviced to a mainstream audience.
- Banana Island Ghost
Written and directed by BB Sasore who worked on the short lived television series, Before 30, Banana Island Ghost is as wonky as the trailer suggests. The story is quite the stretch but it is delivered with appropriate amounts of seriousness and playfulness that the incredibility and inconsistencies recorded quickly fade to a blur.
The message that CaTCH.eR passes in the end, without meaning to, is that even in death, the world will continue to fail a successful woman, especially when she is surrounded by a bunch of inadequate, less than worthy men. The acting is solid across the board and director Walter ‘Waltbanger’ Taylaur succeeds in presenting a crafty whodunit.
In many respects, Hakkunde is the story of contemporary Nigeria, a witty, emotional exploration of what it means to be young and Nigerian. Set in Lagos and Kaduna, Hakkunde places one young graduate’s quest for dignity at the center of a larger, more encompassing story of resourcefulness, doggedness and the importance of community. There are many times Hakkunde could have headed in the wrong directions in the quest for quick fixes but the team appear to understand their story completely and manage to stay the course.
From time immemorial, greed has always possessed the power to make brother turn against brother, long time colleagues act out against each other and life buddies become sworn enemies. All of these scenarios (and more) present themselves in Ojukokoro and Olaitan makes use of a fine cast to unspool his feverishly exciting take on this timeless monster.
Competently cast, Isoken shines best when it goes for laughs. The dramatic sub plot seem forced but the story’s endless charms ensure that even after the last scene has played out, only warm feelings remain. Isoken is gorgeous to look at and the production design is top notch. Costumes, makeup and music (a mix of old and contemporary tunes) are all perfectly rendered and the film’s wedding party scene teaches that other famous film a thing or two about how to shut down a Lagos party.