OLOTURE – THE UNTOLD STORIES OF SEX TRADE

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OLOTURE MOVIE REVIEW

By Jumande Raji

Directed by: Kenneth Gyang

Starring: Sharon Ooja, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Omoni Oboli, Omowunmi Dada, Ada Ameh, Beverly Osu, Ikechukwu Onunaku, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Omawumi, Sambasa Nzeribe, etc.

Oloture tells the story of a young journalist who goes undercover as a prostitute to expose a sex and human trafficking operation. In order to carry out her duties perfectly, she had to become integrated as one of the prostitutes and contrary to what she had hoped, she gets closer that she intended to and the experience leaves her with scars that may never heal. She gets in way too deep and she may never be able to resurface again. Her story becomes more than just a story but her life and struggle for survival.

So, before I saw this movie, I had heard a lot of buzz about it and frankly, I kept wondering what all the hype was about until I was forced to just go see for myself and I honestly wasn’t disappointed. I commend the details taken in the making of this movie to paint the picture of the gore and pains involved in the illegal trafficking business and the sad reality that many girls are still pushing to leave the country via any means necessary, not minding the consequences.

The story is one that many people may not be able to relate to but it is some people’s reality, and the fact that it is based on a true story validates that fact. I like the fact that this movie seeks to shed light on this issue that though underemphasized, is the sad reality many young girls face in a bid to “make a better life for themselves” or find greener pastures. The movie showed the rawness of many people’s situations, without sugarcoating all the ills and dangers of living that type of life. The story was so emotional that I know so many people were moved to tears at certain points. Despite the fact that I know a lot of people were clamoring for a happier end or a sequel, I know that most true life stories don’t necessarily have happy endings, life in itself is messy and rough.

The movie has many popular seasoned actors and entertainers, so it was set to be a big hit from the get-go. There was exceptional acting from most of the actors, which helped feed life to the characters, big and small alike. Sharon Ooja, playing the lead character, Oloture alias Ehi, Omowunmi Dada as Linda, Omoni Oboli as Alero, Blossom Chukwujekwu as Emeka, Kemi Lala Akindoju as Blessing, Ikechukwu Onunakwu as Chuks and many others. Every character’s story was unique yet somehow all intertwined. From the pimp to the abusive politician, each story carried a message.

Sharon Ooja was good in the lead role but I still wished she had broken more out of her shell because I could still see her the way I know her, even though the role was completely different from anything she had done. Omowunmi Dada was awesome, she brought fire and life to every scene she was in and you could basically feel the emotions of the movie through her interpretation. It was interesting to see Omoni Oboli as a retired prostitute turned head trafficker, the role looked good on her even though a number of people joked about the amateur way she held the cigarette. Honestly, the casting director and movie director did an exceptional job in making this piece exceptional. 

When the movie started, I felt like I had missed out on some crucial bits, because we started at the point where our protagonist was already in the ring of prostitutes and even living under a madam. I felt like we should have had more of a backstory there, to make the character more rounded, so we can honestly see that she had a life before the whole undercover business. I liked the inclusion of the scene with her mother played by Ada Ameh, and the fact that most of their dialogue was in their native dialect was simply beautiful. Even the scene where Linda spoke in a dialect to her mother was beautiful. I always like the bits of culture that make the movie more indigenous, more Nigerian.  

The costuming was simply colorful. Every scene had some sort of splash of color with natural-looking set designs that make every scene very eye-catching and attractive to watch. They used minimal locations and still somehow, showed us different beautiful sights of Lagos, with teaming nightlife. Sound and music were very good, well blended with the right mood music for every scene.

Oloture leaves you with so much to think about. The many stories of women who have gone, those who were lost on the way and those who still believe that is the only way out for them. One scene I would never forget is the one with all the nudity, not because of that in itself but because of the significance of what took place, to believe that people do that to others is something to be reflected on.

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