Movie review: Offshoot has good storyline, reminds me of Dora Akunyili’s fight against drug menace

Movie review Offshoot

Offshoot, directed by Ayeny T. Steve and produced by Oluwatoyin Adewumi and Benjamin Abejide Adeniran, stands as a compelling entry in the Nollywood film scene. With a storyline reminiscent of the tenacity of the late NAFDAC boss, Dora Akunyili, the film explores the harrowing journey of Modesire Mbakwe, affectionately known as Dee, as she takes on the formidable task of leading the National Drug Agency’s battle against drug trafficking.

Kehinde Bankole (2024 AMVCA Best Actress) shines in her portrayal of Dee, a role that demands both strength and vulnerability. Dee’s promotion to head the National Drug Agency on her 40th birthday marks the beginning of a career fraught with peril and sacrifice. Bankole’s performance encapsulates Dee’s determination and grit as she navigates the treacherous waters of drug enforcement. Her resolve is palpable, driving the narrative forward with urgency and realism.

Written by Temitope Bolade and Diche Enunwa, the film’s emotional core is grounded in Dee’s relationship with her husband, Dike, played by Kelechi Udegbe, and their daughter, Amara. When she starts to receive death threats, her husband becomes worried and tries to talk her out of pursuing the cartel so aggressively, but for Dee, there is no turning back. It’s all or nothing; the family dynamic provides a poignant counterbalance to Dee’s professional life, highlighting her personal sacrifices for her career. Udegbe’s portrayal of Dike is particularly noteworthy, capturing a husband’s loving yet desperate attempts to protect his family from the escalating threats posed by Dee’s relentless pursuit of justice.

Dee’s early successes in dismantling a powerful drug cartel are portrayed with a gripping intensity that hooks the audience. However, these victories come at a steep price. The cartel’s retribution is swift and brutal, escalating from death threats to direct attacks on Dee’s family. Steve handles This escalation with a deft touch, ensuring that the tension remains high throughout the film. The narrative doesn’t stop depicting the emotional and psychological toll of such a high-stakes career, adding layers of depth to Dee’s character.

The supporting cast, including Ibrahim Suleiman, Greg ‘Teddy Bear’ Ojefua, Bimbo Manuel, and others, deliver strong performances that enhance the film’s authenticity. Each actor brings their character to life, contributing to the film’s realism and urgency. Special mention must be made of Fausat Balogun ‘Madam Saje’ and Salisu Danjuma Gezawa, whose portrayals add a touch of cultural richness to the story.

As the threats against Dee’s family intensify, the strain on her marriage becomes a central theme. The film masterfully depicts the erosion of Dee and Dike’s relationship under the relentless pressure of her job. The tension reaches a boiling point, forcing Dee to confront the possibility of losing not just her career but also her family and sanity. This exploration of personal sacrifice and the cost of duty is where Offshoot truly excels, making it more than just a thriller but a poignant drama about the human condition.

Ayeny T. Steve’s direction is commendable, maintaining a tight narrative pace while allowing for moments of emotional introspection. The cinematography and score work in tandem to create an atmosphere that is both tense and immersive, drawing viewers into Dee’s world.

Offshoot is a powerful film that delves deep into the sacrifices demanded by duty. With stellar performances, particularly by Kehinde Bankole and Kelechi Udegbe, and a gripping storyline, it stands out as a significant achievement in Nollywood. The film’s exploration of the intersection between professional duty and personal sacrifice is both timely and timeless, earning it a well-deserved place in the pantheon of great Nigerian cinema.

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