GOD CALLING MOVIE REVIEW
By Morris Abdul Newton
Dir: BB Sasore
Starring: Zainab Balogun, Karibi Fubara, Eku Edewor, Nkem Owoh, Onyeka Onwenu, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Tina Mba, Patrick Diabuah, Abiola Segun-Williams.
We don’t often see faith based films in the cinemas out here but one thing is for sure; no matter its calling or leaning, when we do see one, we submit it to the same rigor and scrutiny we put all others through. Quality cannot be compromised… right?
God Calling is about obedience and faith explored through the life of a stay-at-home wife and mum, Sade (Zainab Balogun). Sade is seemingly happy in her near perfect life with her husband and only child. But for the drug abuse and not being able to bear another child, she would have had it all perfect. Then she suffers a personal tragedy and is taken on a journey of self-discovery which threatens to transform the lives of those around her. (Watch Trailer Here)
The exploration of strong themes such as drug abuse, suicide, mental incapacitation, marital struggles and belief in this film is almost seamless and the fact that SOME of its production values helps sell it beyond its faith focus, thereby not reneging on its entertainment value, is great.
That said, ‘God Calling’ was definitely not all rosy. Sound for one was really bad. ‘Horrible’ is the word I was actually looking for. The ADR menace was so pronounced in this film that I almost felt like putting on my headphones when certain characters had lines of dialogue to deliver. Tina Mba and RMD’s ADR for instance were really bad.
On the other hand, Picture and lighting were very good. Definitely has one of the best pictures I have seen this year. The picture was so sweet one could have been tempted to literally lick the screen.
Acting turned out quite decent. Patrick Diabuah playing the Pastor, for one, needs to work on his style and delivery. He’s becoming quite pedestrian even in diverse roles. The girl that played Zainab’s daughter (Lola) was a fantastic cast. The resemblance between mother and child was quite uncanny.
The scene between Francis Okereke (Karibi Fubara) and his daughter, Lola was really sweet. The girl did really great in her role. The family’s Doctor (Abiola Segun-Williams) had her language style all warped up. Her delivery was like a doctor’s handwriting when writing prescriptions. Meanwhile, Onyeka Onwenu was just all so overly dramatic in some of her scenes.
Whilst some parts of this film will test your resolve or belief in the miraculous, there were a few points of convenient set ups by the writer who obviously wanted something to happen. For instance, Sade taking her call outside the house while Lola fiddled with inflammables was one. Sade had no tangible reason to step out of the house. Nevertheless, the explosion was well executed.
An important note as well is that of aesthetics. Aesthetics without solid story progression is simply not cool. CGI usage is a notable feature in BB Sasore’s movies and the use here was pretty intense and I must say, great. ‘God Calling’ probably has the best use of CGI in any Nollywood movie. See; trance scene, suicide attempt on the bridge and in the water, explosion etc. It was good to look at. One of those draws a question though; when Sade wanted to commit suicide, where was her car on the long shot?
‘God Calling’ drops slightly in its intensity and appeal on certain fronts especially when we consider some of its story issues. There was not much establishment on Francis’ life that pushes us towards knowing that he really had no friends. We only saw him constantly cavorting with a female colleague. That was too convenient for character building. Then there was the fact that no one mentioned losing the house to the explosion or anything related to it. That was a major event that didn’t deserve to be swept under the carpet.
Editing was a tad off at some points as scenes seemed misplaced. Some scenes looked like they were placed properly while to the discerning eye of literary expressions, they weren’t. Scenes or happenings need to be arranged well to soothe the story being told as well as deliver maximum impact. The use of contrast would have worked supremely at certain points but an editor would have to understand it even if the director or writer doesn’t.
Francis’s escalating matters to asking for a divorce also came across as too sudden. Nothing had gotten out of hand just yet. Though I like the issues between Francis’ dad (Nkem Owoh) and Sade’s dad (Richard Mofe-Damijo), but it probably would have worked better if Sade’s dad was very insistent on matters related to his business before we saw both of them go head to head. We never really saw the man’s persistent nature and his lack of belief earlier in the movie only for him to become a focal character based on those two attributes later.
God Calling possesses all the overtones of the Christian faith. However, what is sure is that the emotions here were very real… eventually.