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KFB Movie Review: Kunle Afolayan’s October 1 was over-hyped?

I haven’t seen this movie yet but a movie reviewer who has seen it had quiet a lot to say about the much talked about movie.

Read the review below:
A predictable direction: With a few
award winning movies to his credit and a burgeoning legendary status,
it is only normal that Afolayan would want to outdo himself… A “big
budget” movie with a political backdrop that plays on the metaphor of
unity to attract a diverse audience- a country with over 250 ethnic
groups- yes, it’s a film that speaks in tongues, a la Phone Swap – a move
that could easily see him sit on the throne as the first king of the
(dis)united states of Nollywood.

He can be trusted to be the star of his
movie, not because he always finds (or forces) a role for himself in
his films, but because he is usually a bigger name than his actors – a
fact, but not necessarily a bad thing – I mean, where was Sadiq Daba
before now?

Inside critics who had seen the movie earlier had
placed it over the glamorously superficial ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’
released a few months ago, consequently spiking interest in this two
million dollar “David” that had supposedly struck down Biyi Bandele’s 10
million dollar (and if you are Nigerian, 1.59 BILLION NAIRA) Goliath.

But then, both films seem to have a lot in common and with such budgets-
bearing in mind that Nigeria has a high level of poverty- their efforts
to raise Nigeria’s film reputation must be applauded, for Kunle
Afolayan especially, who seemed to have had a very difficult time
amassing resources “all alone” and had every aspect of the film (save
the colour grading) done strictly by Nigerians in Nigeria- yeah,
patriotic poo.

So, our reaction to the movie would be tinted with
compassion… If we were a bunch of Bottom holes, but that’s the cool
part, we aren’t.

Afolayan has never been a visionary director – he
is yet to develop visual nuances that would stand him out, but of course
that shouldn’t be surprising as he has – for the entire length of his
movie making career- been jumping through genres and
‘experimenting.’

Yes, we like our artists to not be too versatile;
that’s why Quentin Tarantino does not do romance movies, James Cameron
is always about technology, Teco Benson is quite good with action films
and Tunde Kelani is unbeatable at showcasing Yoruba culture… and they
are all great directors.

They are great because their stories,
techniques and nuances are deeply connected to their personalities,
personal preferences and character traits.

An artist’s greatest works
are always their most personal, it just may not always be obvious.

Afolayan is still too tensed with budgetary issues, camera techniques
and commercial returns to find the serenity needed to shoot from within.
What results is a work with much brain but no soul- good but not great.

October
1 is not Afolayan’s  first thriller (The Figurine was), if at all we
can call it that, so it was expected that by now he would have perfected
his approach to film noir. The story is built on a series of virgin
girl killings and a police inspector who must find the killer before
Nigeria gains independence on the 1st of October 1960.

The major problem
is that the writer pens a weak story with too many holes and too lazy
to rewrite, makes it worse by finding excuses for all his shortcomings;
alibis, suspects, red herrings and twists. As a matter of fact there is
no twist, everyone guessed right. Inspector Waziri is not an interesting
character- rarely seen outside his uniform, he is nothing but an
inspector and is easily outshone by his side kick Kayode Aderupoko
(Inspector Afonja). Somewhere along the story, the writer tries to
impress another layer on Waziri’s character by bringing up his ‘wife and
child’ story and ofcourse, it fails.

The whole charade of
Nigeria’s independence even feels super imposed on the story. We do not
understand or feel the circumstances leading to or people’s reaction
towards it. Ofcourse the learned ones in Akote talk about it but the
issue is approached with the depth of a pseudo-intellectual, much is
spoken but nothing profound is really said.

So what if the
killer doesn’t get apprehended before the 1st of October? Funmi Ransome
Kuti makes an appearance- and yes, one appearance with no relation to
the story at all.

The cameo parts of veteran actors like Femi Adebayo
and Kanayo O Kanayo are like Brad Pitt’s “Deus ex machina” appearance in
12 Years a Slave, very brief, except that their presence is not felt
either because of their under par acting and/or bad story writing. The
dialogue through out the movie is either overly rehearsed or
dispassionately delivered. Only a few characters hold their own and they
are usually not the major actors.

It picks up only at the end when
Waziri magically becomes a proud black man in an argument that aspires
to what should have been experienced long before that moment.

Of course,
the film is littered (however unevenly) with funny moments but it is by
no means a great movie. The issue of paedophilia is touched on in the
film and obviously aspires towards controversy, but it is approached
with such one dimensional flippancy that it gives off the aura of a PR
stunt to get people talking and increase ticket sales.

The movie
is simply an embodiment of marketing gimmicks- it may make its money
back but like Phone Swap and his other films, it will not revolutionise
film making in Nigeria. Kunle Afolayan needs to be a deep thinking
artist with a strong vision that will flow through every aspect of his
work.

He isn’t there yet.

Rating: Lacking in depth. 5/10

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