POWER OF 1 MOVIE REVIEW
By Morris Abdul Newton
Dir: Izu Ojukwu
Starring: Alex Ekubo, Ramsey Nouah, Michelle Dede, Jibola Dabo, Annie Idibia, Bimbo Manuel.
“Power of 1” is that movie that wants to tell the story of an individual (after-all, it’s based on true events) and also wants to make a difference in Nigeria and maybe, just maybe, the world at large.
The story is aimed at Nigerians accepting that as individuals they have the power to make a significant difference in the society and is also a faithful imitation of the “Enough is enough” struggle that took place in Nigeria some years back. In the movie it’s called “One voice Nigeria.” So, we can basically call “Power of 1”, “The biography of an Uprising” of some sort.
Justin “Lejit” (Alex Ekubo) is a superstar artist who decides to yield to becoming the voice of the people in the struggle for good governance. One thing leads to another as he faces several challenges stemming to threats on his family, himself, his career and people close to him. He even faces internal challenges from his team, mother and wife. However, his determination and drive, as well as his love for the people, keep him going. He wins over his support team, which includes Edafe (Ramsey Nouah), Michelle Dede and Jibola Dabo amongst others.
The choice of language in a movie is a preset thing so when actors are gotten to take on roles, this is one of the many things the casting team looks out for so it tends to be frustrating when the “Pidgin English” spoken by some of the actors sounded lazy and greasy. I do not know if it was the ADR or just the boring way they spoke it. A good example was how Ramsey Nouah sounded when he left the meeting he was at upon hearing that Lejit had endorsed some social media movement against the government. The raspy way he spoke the language throughout that sequence made him hard to watch. It then took a while before any other thing started sounding a bit natural. We might excuse this one by faulting the ADR. Shall we? Let’s blame it on something… else.
Also, the dialogue wasn’t flowing as well as we would have thought it would. Most of it was just manageable. Some of the actors struggled with their lines.
The chemistry between Alex Ekubo and Annie Idibia was lacking. It was as if the energy that was needed to make their flow on-screen work was left off-screen.
Movies that have themes centered on social justice and protests have the tendency of being bores if not treated well as stories of individual journeys. Here is where “Power of 1” deserves some kudos but it still ultimately makes some errors of judgment in the long run. I’ll get to that in a bit.
When Lejit started out with the protest at the social media post stage, despite the obvious displeasure of the stakeholders in his career over his involvement in a political protest, it is quite interesting to see how they were easily convinced when they convened to deliberate on the matter. It didn’t take so much to convince them at all. I know I wouldn’t have been convinced especially with the millions we stand to lose if my artiste gets shut down under superior political might. There’s such a thing as giving convincing speeches. It wasn’t here as I would have shut Lejit down quite easily.
“Power of 1” is visually beautiful and purposeful. The vision on that account is carried out although the Editor, I felt could have done better with some shots extending.
It is clear that this is one movie that had a very fine blend of celebrities playing their roles well but it is also clear that this movie is unnecessarily long and tiring at some points. Quite a number of scenes in the film should have been cut out or shrunk to make the story airtight and solid enough. I appreciate the emphasis on the common man i.e. using the roadside engineers (who didn’t do badly acting wise) and all to emphasize how corrupt we can be individually, but they got way too much screen-time and seemed too detached to the major plot itself.
The amount of time spent in establishing people walking, driving at some point seemed too much too. The editor should have gone to work. That was a letdown.
I’m not sure I understand the shabby introduction of the “rebel group” that sent a sniper in to take out Lejit during the protest. It just seems like an addendum as against a well thought out part of the plot. And that brings me to one of the major things that annoyed me most in this film. The major action draws from the trailer of this movie, where the sniper aims at the stage and fires ended up being just imagination in the film. How on earth do you do that? That’s criminal in my books. Then, how scanty can a crowd be if any of these were legit? It was sort of a scam. No, it was a scam!
The best thing about the film is that, eventually, the message is not lost on you, though you might question and wonder what this character “Lejit” really was about. This has everything to do with the actor.
It’s not his best effort but while watching “Power of 1,” one thing was again very clear; Izu Ojukwu is a fantastic director. Yes, not every shot was to perfection but they were good enough. Barring a few shaky cameras, this movie in the hands of another could have turned out a disaster.