CITATION MOVIE REVIEW By Morris Abdul Newton
Dir: Kunle Afolayan
Starring: Temi Otedola, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Gabriel Afoloyan, Ini Edo, Joke Silva, Ibukun Awosika, Adjetey Anang, Sadiq Daba, Bukunmi Oluwashina …
Kunle Afolayan (Producer, Director) linked up with Tunde Babalola (Writer) to deliver yet another cinematic piece for our “enjoyment and education”. Remember ‘October 1’ and ‘The Tribunal’? Yeah. They did those too.
That said, did this link-up do it for us this time around? Or better still, have they really ever done it for us? Maybe, ‘October 1’ did. Citation is probably a different kettle of fish.
The story follows the travails of a young post-graduate, Moremi Oluwa (Temi Otedola) as she seeks justice in a sexual harassment/attempted rape case against a ‘trusted’ and celebrated professor Lucien N’Dyare (Jimmy Jean-Louis) whom she has grown fond of. The movie sees the two alongside witnesses appear before a tribunal set up by the institution with constant flashbacks making sure we understand what really went down. It’s unclear if ‘Citation’ is fully or loosely based on true events.
It’s easy to notice the color schemes in this movie. The orange hue is laid up all over sceneries leading the way amongst other elements to a strong shout for the brilliance of the film’s cinematography. The pan-African sceneries were well captured and a delight to see. Now, that wasn’t the only point of excellence, as the music score held its own too. I give solid props to both departments.
The acting wasn’t phenomenal. We can say it’s mildly expected for Temi as this was her debut but we can’t really say the same for quite a number of other popular acts. This is probably one of the weakest movies I’ve seen Gabriel Afolayan on. Some of the issues stem from the characterization. Many characters were too thinly laid out and even largely unused in the story. The villain was also quite straightforward bad. There were no in-betweens and no room for empathy for him. If you are a rookie writer or filmmaker, this is practically not how to build characters.
Character relationships were weak and not well utilized. Pivotal examples of this were the relationships between Moremi and her love interest, the final year medical student, Koyejo (Afolayan). This relationship was never set on any proper foundation. They just seemingly became an item in distress. No enjoyment, weak consummation. Also, the relationship (friendship) between Moremi, Kwese (Adjetey Anang) and Gloria (Ini Edo) wasn’t fully explored dramatically. There’s a whole lot this relationship dynamic could have done for this movie, but we didn’t get it.
Citation is unnecessarily long. The story could have been told way under 120 minutes rather than the 151 minutes we got. A few examples are the winding dialogue sequences that could have been shortened and still pass the same message, the concert with Seun Kuti that was too long (thanks to the lack of what it added to the movie), the pointless karate fight intercuts – At no point did I get a feeling that Koyejo earnestly sought that black belt. This really added nothing to the story. The fact that it was juxtaposed with Moremi’s search for the edge in her case came off as awkward posturing.
No way am I convinced that this movie fulfilled its full potential. It isn’t Kunle Afolayan’s best movie and the storytelling wasn’t pristine.
The issues Citation tackles are great and noble in themselves but were they tackled exhaustively and most creatively? No. The movie is slow, winding and still didn’t do justice to itself. So, what exactly was the point of using all that time?
The way this is set up leads me to conclude that it is indeed a travesty to continue to lay beds of roses for folks that should know better than deliver subpar stuff. Veterans included.