Three hours of a good but not excellent movie.
The truth is Slow Country isn’t a bad movie, it’s just not as good. While it gets marks for trying as a “Nigerian movie”, it’s still not in 2017 of movies. Maybe the 2002s of Action movies with weird looking effects and gunshots. Thirty-year-old Genevieve lookalike Ivie Okujaye put forward a strong and impressive showing as the film’s main character. Utilising a rather strong script, she delivered a truly beautiful performance.
The story was simple, it is the story of Kome; a homeless teenage mother, who is driven to the hands of Tuvi a drug dealing, human trafficking kingpin in a bid to cater and secure a good life for her son Peter. Tuvi quickly presents her into the turbulent life of prostitution and drug dealing. Somewhere in the movie, Osas; her ex-boyfriend shows up – desperate to win her back. And she wants to be won back too, she faces a serious internal battle – does she go back with Osas and forfeit her trusted cash cow? Or does she just stay despite hating the demeaning nature of her job and all of the crap that comes with her life as a sex worker?
Boasting a star-studded cast list with Ivie Okujaye as Kome, Sambasa Nzeribe as Tuvi, Tope Tedela as Osas, Majid Michel as Inspector Dave, Gina Castel as Ola, Brutus Richard as Brasko, Folaremi Agunbiade as Femi, Imoudu ‘DJ Moe’ Ayonote as Tuvi’s Second Man, Inspector Ogbonna as Victor Erabie, Adebayo Thomas as Peter, Emmanuel Ilemobayo as Charger, Kolade Shasi as Pedro and Anthony Igwe as Eugene, Slow Country shows potential growth and a positive type of development in the film industry. This potential development was rewarded with the Audience Choice Award at the 2016 Africa International Film Festival. Sambasa Nzeribe minus his disturbing accent gave the perfect villain performance and also won his second AMVCA for Best Actor in a Drama. A few industry veterans show up but quite impressively, the new guys turn up with stellar performances.
Despite these great points for the movie, there was a problem – the directing, the shots, they were all over the place. There was a general rowdiness to a movie that could have been interpreted differently; better. While 35-year-old Eric Aghimien has shown a consistent development in his art as a writer and director, he is not there yet. After and impressive showing at A Mile from Home that won at both the 2014 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards and the 10th Africa Movie Academy Awards, the director does a better job, but in order for us to get to the place we need to be as a movie industry, we need to demand more from our storytellers and film makers.
The effects in this movie were the best they could have been, but it begs a bigger question – when do we get to the promised land in Nigerian movies? Poor sound engineering and funny accents flying around with even our main character switching effortlessly between American, British and sometimes Canadian English for good measure.
An overall okay movie, with a good cast and especially incredible character development, it’s evident that the future of Nigerian movies is in great hands.
Oluwatosin Adeshokan is a freelance journalist and writer reporting stories about West Africa. He was previously the Culture Editor for YNaija. He tweets at @TheOluwatosin