Directed by ImohUmoren
Starring: William Benson, Tonia Chukwurah, Kelechi Udegbe, SaheedBalogun, StanleeOhikhuare, etc.
There has been a long-standing debate on whether this movie would be a hit or not, with people on either side of the fence throwing a lot of good points, but I chose to remain on the fence until I saw the movie for myself. The movie made such a buzz that I know everyone was super excited to see how it turned out.
The story is about one of Nigeria’s founding fathers, Herbert Macaulay, who started a movement against the oppression that Nigerians faced in the hands of the white man and how they had to take a stand to fight back. It also showed his personal experiences and struggle in a white-dominated society where things did not work the way they were supposed to. He was able to champion a movement that eventually led to Nigeria gaining independence.
There seems to be a huge gap in the way the Nigerian history is passed from one generation to the next and many questions are normally left unanswered or left to assumptions. I know many people were of the opinion that Herbert Macaulay was a white man, probably because of his name and that is one of the myths that this movie attempts to kill. It also attempts to show the state of Nigeria at a critical point in our nation’s history.
The movie had a lot of shaky images and camera angles that cut off people’s heads, I sincerely doubt if that is a technique or style that should have been employed, most likely a mistake that was overlooked. The first few scenes didn’t really have any genuine relevance to the movie and could have either been cut out or worked in better, so as to have a proper flow.
Scenes that should have been the same but showed only segments of people and no interaction with the people in the set, which only tells us that the scenes weren’t shot at the same time and even following the conversation at that point became hard. You supposedly had a crowd of people being addressed and you would rather have a pillar cover half of the screen. Even if you couldn’t get an actual crowd, there are other ways the scene could have been shot to give a better feel.
William Benson was simply powerful in his role as Herbert Olayinka Macaulay, I enjoyed the power and charisma he brought to the character. It made me start to admire the person that Herbert was and all he stood for. The story should have had more depth and a proper flow through so that we could have followed the life and emotions of the character, instead of just feeding us bits as we had it.
I liked how little bits of historic facts were dropped throughout the movie, like the plague that took his parents’ lives, the riots and the different points and the struggles and revolutions. The only thing that was really missing was making the story a story and not bits and pieces of a man’s life. I liked that one of the descendants of Herbert Macaulay was involved in the filmmaking process, but I expected to see more about Herbert Macaulay that I would find online if I searched for him but I didn’t really get that.
The set choices seemed pretty limited and constrained and it showed in some scenes but I enjoyed the greenery and the different sets that gave us a feel a saner, calmer and less populated Lagos. The costuming also was beautiful and transported me to that era were torn between abandoning their culture and accepting the colonial imprints. Sound was okay, there were no issues there, which is a plus for the movie. I would have preferred sharper pictures instead of the old school feel, even though that has an appeal of its own, but that’s just me.
Overall, the movie was a good attempt at showing us the life and struggles of Herbert Macaulay, but it had the potential to do so much more and I wish it did.