We are kickstarting our new movie review series with Oloture, a movie that would leave your jaws dropping and your mind racing.
A movie that tells a realistic tale of the woes Nigerian women go through to get to the ‘greener side’. A young, ambitious journalist goes undercover to uncover the intricacies of human trafficking only this time the storyteller becomes the trafficked.
This Ebonylife production directed by Kenneth Gyang was inspired by a 2014 investigation on human trafficking. It follows the journey of a female journalist who inserts herself in the world of commercial sex work to uncover a crime syndicate and finds more than she came for, a world of exploited woman and boundless ruthlessness. What seemed like a harmless undercover investigation quickly turned out to be Oloture’s reality such that it evolved from being an outside take on exploited women to being her story.
Seeing this movie will take you through a range of emotions especially observing how traumatically these women live and the exploitation, violence and danger they face in daily dealings.
Let us take a look at the various aspects that sold this movie maximally;
The stellar performances put up by the characters in the movie. Wofaifada, Kemi Lala and Omowunmi Dada embodied the role of a typical commercial sex worker in Nigeria. Mannerisms, Language and face-offs, it was faultless. Trust Omoni Oboli to pull off her old effortlessly although we could have done without the constant cigar smoking, we get it. You are Lagos big madam who also doubles as an undercover pimp and human trafficker. Please put the cigar down.
Finally, I saved the best performance for last. Best because a typical character for Sharon Ooja is far from what she had to play as Oloture. While I was scared at the possibility of a mediocre delivery, she outdid herself scene after scene. The code switch between her life as an undercover sex worker to the calming scene with her mother, played by Ada Ameh was beautiful and did you hear the fluency in the Idoma language?
Use Of Language
The use of Language in this movie wowed me. Do you know what would be uncomfortable to see? Depicting the underground world of prostitution, trafficking and violence using Queen’s English!. The major use of pidgin language which is the lingua France in Nigeria and subtle insertion of the appropriate slangs like ‘Shenkes’, ‘Putana’ and ‘Forza speciale’.
Costume and Special effects.
The costumier of this movie deserves a bottle of expensive wine because the costumes were very typical of sex workers. The sequinned dresses, colourful wigs, extra makeup looks just said it all. One look at the scene and you know that you are looking at a brothel.
Movies like Oloture shows how much progress we have made in Hollywood. The movie pinpointed the exact reality of a typical sex work environment while making sure not to leave out the journalism part of the journalist’s life by showing clips of a media organization now and again. The part where the old school pimp Chuks(Ikechukwu) beats his girlfriend to a pulp sends shivers down my spine.
The end of the movie held one of the most realistic twists I have seen in a while. Oloture who started off as a journalist investigating human trafficking syndicate ended up a trafficked victim. This just points to the fact that some people who are at risk of being trafficked are not the most obvious victims. Other sex workers who chose that path are at the centre of the victim circle but characters like Beauty, a young lady who came to join her sister in Lagos and Oloture who’s undercover dance around the hinges of victimhood.
Now let’s look at the not so amazing parts of this movie which I must confess are infinitesimal.
First off, after Oloture whose undercover name is Ehi ran away from one of her customers in the hotel and ran back to her brothel in the middle of the night but arrived her destination when the day had fully broken. Lagos traffic is bad but come on!
Another part that did not do it for me was when Oloture went spying on Madam Alero(Omoni Oboli) in the market and decided to place a phone call to her supervisor about her findings. If you think she went to a corner to make this call you are wrong. She took that call right in the middle of the market to the full hearing of the sellers who may know madam Alero. How discreet!
After being this movie, I would rate it a solid 9/10 save for the few hitches aforementioned and I would definitely recommend that you see this eye-opener of a movie. Big kudos to all the parties who worked to create this piece of art.