For most Nigerian youngsters, watching Nollywood movies is an ‘uncool’ thing to do. Considering the caliber of movies we watched growing up and comparing them with the standards we see in Hollywood, one cannot blame anyone for such feelings. In recent years however, there have been some improvements in the quality of movies produced and some of us have had to rethink our bias. One of such movies is ‘Lionheart‘, a directorial debut of the veteran actress, Genevieve Nnaji.
There has been a lot of publicity about the movie, with its rights being acquired by Netflix. I finally got to see the movie and these are my thoughts alongside a few gleaned from social media reactions. So many have been quick to criticize the movie for being over-hyped but I say that is publicity. Considering how successful movies like ‘Lionheart’ and ‘UpNorth’ have been, it is obvious that for Nollywood to break more grounds, there has to be more collaboration between filmmakers and advertisers.
The Girl Child
The plot doesn’t set the pulse racing but then, not every movie should. I love how the girl child (Adaeze) was trusted by her strong Igbo father to navigate his company during a critical period. I believe that’s the theme of the movie. The movie showed that the girl child has all it takes to do what the male child can do.
Then comes Nkem Owoh with his comic relief and it makes me wonder if the guy ever has a script to act. That scene where he conducts the election needed to make Adaeze CEO was particularly hilarious.
The reality of doing business
The opening scene shows a problem most Nigerian entrepreneurs especially in the South-East and South-South face – illegal taxation. These self appointed tax collectors don’t listen to the voice of reason. This factor has been responsible for the closure or relocation of several businesses in these regions.
The way in which Adaeze worked with her uncle to run the company is one of the ways Nollywood stereotypes were broken. For once Nkem Owoh was not a poor and cruel uncle. Another stereotype that was broken was the roles given to the different tribes. The hausa men, for example, were not gatemen.
Script quality has been a problem for most Nigerians for a very long time. A lot of movies have very poor scripts and one often wonders if much thought was given to its writing. In my opinion, the script was certainly very good.
One of the things I particularly loved about the movie was its subtle promotion of brands; Innoson and Peace Mass Transit. This could be the way to go for many brands; where brands pay to increase their awarenessawareness via being featured in movies and filmmakers raise funds for production.
I had a problem with the cast. It follows what I see as a trend in recent Nollywood movies; an assembly of star casts. I do not know how it helps to give the viewer a wonderful experience but I feel it is totally unnecessary. For a movie with a simple plot, all those star names were not needed. Any decent actor could have played those roles perfectly.
I think it was a good directorial debut for Genevieve, who has wowed us for so long with her acting skills. The movie, however, has lots of room for improvement especially in the script. I feel more people should get into scriptwriting as there’s a dearth of quality scripts in Nollywood. The reason most people do not watch Nollywood movies is because of the widely held belief that the plots are sub-par. With the amazing potential in the country I am sure there is no shortage of talented scriptwriters. It has the potential to become a huge part of the industry.
Featured image source: innovation-village.com