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Yvonne Chinyere Anoruo

The controversy surrounding the release of Omoni Oboli’s Okafor’s Law raised a lot of buzz which could easily pass off as testament of an outstanding movie. But when you see it, you easily want to ask na wetin make una dey fight be this? in that colloquial way of analysing something that does not meet expectations.

The reality is that it leaves one very conflicted and with many questions, one of which is: what makes a great movie? Is it a good script or a director’s creativity in interpreting an otherwise good story? Okafor’s Law misses the mark for me on different counts but I’d talk about three – plot (which is the most important for me), characterisation and casting. Well, even dialogue in the movie is as stiff as a dead man’s bones.

First, the movie starts off nicely with the introduction of the central theme and layout of incidents upon which the rest of the plot will be built, which is okay. Two friends challenge the third member of their clique, Chuks Okafor (Blossom Chukwujekwu) to successfully sleep with three of his ex-girlfriends (to prove the potency of his okafor’s law) within a three week period or forfeit 10% of his shares in their joint farm business. On this note, the movie immediately wins the interest of viewers like myself because it is a subject that piques our interest generally, whether or not we like to admit it.

However, it fails signif ...

The controversy surrounding the release of Omoni Oboli’s Okafor’s Law raised a lot of buzz which could easily pass off as testament of an outstanding movie. But when you see it, you easily want to ask na wetin make una dey fight be this? in that colloquial way of analysing something that does not meet expectations.

The reality is that it leaves one very conflicted and with many questions, one of which is: what makes a great movie? Is it a good script or a director’s creativity in interpreting an otherwise good story? Okafor’s Law misses the mark for me on different counts but I’d talk about three – plot (which is the most important for me), characterisation and casting. Well, even dialogue in the movie is as stiff as a dead man’s bones.

First, the movie starts off nicely with the introduction of the central theme and layout of incidents upon which the rest of the plot will be built, which is okay. Two friends challenge the third member of their clique, Chuks Okafor (Blossom Chukwujekwu) to successfully sleep with three of his ex-girlfriends (to prove the potency of his okafor’s law) within a three week period or forfeit 10% of his shares in their joint farm business. On this note, the movie immediately wins the interest of viewers like myself because it is a subject that piques our interest generally, whether or not we like to admit it.

However, it fails significantly to sustain that interest and lead it through to a point of conflict and subsequent resolution, as expected of every great story at the most basic level. Instead, the movie throws up divergent story angles in an attempt to create points of conflict/tension and veers the entire plot off course each time this happens. It wears one out and prolongs the movie needlessly. Hence, by the time we get to the end, we are tired, literally.

There is nothing, for example, that shows initial connection or interaction between Chuks Okafor and Toyin (Toyin Abraham) or points to his possibly falling in love with her. Chalking that up to a moment of star gazing fails to fly because we just don’t star-gaze in Nigeria. It would have been more meaningful if that bond was formed with Ejiro (Omoni Oboli) whom he had more interactions with before their fall out, but instead we have to go about in circles before getting to that point. Meanwhile, the Ejiro boyfriend character does not move the movie’s plot forward in anyway and so is absolutely needless – the last scene where he makes an appearance could have been done by anyone and a dialogue would have been enough to introduce them in an earlier scene.

The second issue is casting. Toyin Abraham struggled in her role from start to finish and only got into character in the scene where she spoke Yoruba. And at that point, it was difficult to match the personas because it was a case of escalating from zero to hundred. Granted, her character is described as cold and unfeeling, but she was literally growling instead of speaking; her dialogue was stiff like she was talking to herself or trying to remember her lines. If I have not seen her thrive in Yoruba movies, I would have suggested that she goes to look for another career path. But now my only question is: what was Omoni thinking when she cast her in that role? A Lala Akindoju would have played the role better.

Meanwhile, the characterisation of the character, Chief Omene (Richard Mofe Damijo) is confusing. Who exactly did the director want that character to be? He starts off coming across like a calm but possessive Igbo chief and later on diverts to being the aggrieved Warri man. This appeared more convenient than strategic. Plus, it is a tad unrealistic that someone the age of Chief Omene, judging by other character traits we are presented with, will knock out a young, healthy and well-built Chuks Okafor in the manner he does without any form of resistance or defense from the latter. The Ejiro character was not also clear-cut and if she were a real human being, I’d say she was confused. Too much effort was put into making her the heroine.

On plausibility, how could it be that Yvonne Jegede’s character was still fully clothed and made up the way she was during the sex scene with Chuks Okafor earlier in the movie, that even had the latter sweating profusely?

Characters like Ify Omene (Ufuoma McDermott), Chuks (Blossom Chukwujekwu) and Baptist (Gabriel Afolayan) rank among my favourites who made my experience of the movie enjoyable in terms of interpretation with Ufuoma topping the list. Gabriel Afolayan’s character is strong and does a lot to bring on elements of humour in the movie. However, because his energy most times is not matched, he appears talkative and often comes across as overacting.

Okafor’s Law as a story and socio-cultural experience is one that has a huge potential for success as a movie. However, I am not sure that movie is Omoni Oboli’s Okafor’s Law because it fails to hit a home run; let’s forget about the hype for a minute. You do not leave the cinema (if you make it to the end) feeling like you have seen a great movie. Maybe the controversies that surrounded its release raised expectations for the quality of the movie too high. Or just maybe, it is the fact that there are obvious loose ends and bolts that have to be tightened in the movie.

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