THAT WHICH BINDS US MOVIE REVIEW
By Morris Abdul Newton
Dir: Desmond Elliot
Starring: Uche Jombo, Dayo Amusa, Mercy Aigbe, Chinyere Wilfred. 103mins
Admittedly there is nothing new under the sun but never serve what is not new worse than it was last served…NEVER!
Let’s look at this 2018 offering from the stables of Dayo Amusa and the directing of Desmond Elliot.
‘That Which Binds Us’ is a family tale of love, betrayal, human weakness, individual deficiencies and sacrifices. Toke (Uche Jombo) has cancer of the throat and is dying. The family of her late husband wants to take everything and is insistent that she becomes the fourth wife of her late husband’s brother much to her annoyance. She needs her immediate family besides her at this time, but her two sisters are at loggerheads. She has to find a way to bring peace in a quest to find same.
This doesn’t sound so bad. Actually, it’s quite fair. However, there is a difference between what you read and what you see on the screen most times. As said before, there is nothing new about this plot but it is sad that there were equally not many improvements from the ills that plague our movies gone before this one.
Some scenes in this movie were just pure labor instead of the enjoyment I paid for. For instance, I can never understand the scene between Ikeoluwa (Mercy Aigbe) and the photographer. It was total hogwash rife with terrible acting.
Some things were just bad, just as bad as the spelling of ‘Maiguard’ as ‘MayGuard’ on Debo’s (Desmond Elliot) phone when he was called by the security guard to inform him that his fiancée – Yewande (Dayo Amusa) was around so he could check his cheating self. It was just unfair.
The fight scene between Yewande and IkeOluwa was also rubbished by poor directing. Started well with the build-up and then degenerated to a sequence of useless directorial and acting tragedies.
The only scene I probably viewed as significant and enjoyable was the one where Toke’s son, Emeka was being corrected by his aunty, Ike. That one was sort of a good scene.
Sound was something else. There were lots of sound issues and it’s sort of a weird to bother so much about this considering that, well, this is Nigeria. Not a good thought at all.
There something about soundtracks and scores that makes movies beautiful audiovisual experiences but the hideous and quick break into promoting one “mukulumuke song” that happened twice in the movie inspiring useless scenes and time wasting was just gut wrenching. I don’t know who owned the song or why they were promoting it so much but how can you waste our time with rubbish of such magnitude when we could have even preferred using the time to watch adverts. Worse off, the music didn’t even relate to the movie as it sounded like something that was been used to promote Lagos state (Or was it too seek re-election?) A typical way of playing to the gallery when there’s no substance.
To add to the above paragraph is that fact that there’s nothing wrong with a producer doing the soundtrack to his or her movie if and only if the soundtrack makes any sense. A word or a sentence string is enough for the wise.
There scene where Toke was going to reveal her illness to her sisters. It started inside the house and then for no reason at all, the scene found itself outside. I have no idea why that happened cos it made no sense to story or visuals that the director decided on that kind of blocking. It all rather felt confusing.
In terms of story context, in order to be close to her kids during her dying moments, I would have thought Toke would have spent more time with her children like even have them sleep in her room but what are we talking about here? This is the kind of thing that happens when we don’t pay attention to stories.
The acting was just a bit over fair in this one. Chinyere Wilfred delivered her typical annoying mother-in-law performance and maybe that was just enough for her but we need something new and refreshing. Uche Jombo did well enough, but for the life of me, Mercy Aigbe finds it difficult to string English words together properly and yet she was furnished with plenty lines or maybe it was that ‘free rein to act thing’ that is typical of the Yoruba film industry where they don’t obey scripts and just embellish. It was just tedious to see her do this. Also, there was the H-factor on that Babajide, the lawyer to Toke’s late husband. That stuff was legendary.
There wasn’t a name for the screenwriter… I would want to think that was for obvious reasons. After all it looked like something that wasn’t written. Well done Y’all.
It’s sad that this tacky movie is going to turn out to be Desmond Elliot’s best performance in the last two years probably because it had some relatable sense story wise but I can’t even say he has directed an okay film just yet.