I’ve made it no secret thus far that if there’s any genre of movies I can’t stand it’s comedies. Well, here’s another genre that I can’t stand but for a completely different reason (*clears throat* I have no liver) – scary movies. Especially in Nollywood, you’re not exactly encouraged to watch scary movies because they always seem to begin with a babalawo’s shrine (native doctor) and end with someone running mad. So I was utterly delighted (and completely frightened) when ‘The Awakening’ turned out to be different.
The movie follows a couple days in the life of Nicholas, a seemingly normal working man, played by the fabulous O.C Ukeje, as his life takes a turn for the ‘weird’. O.C. Ukeje does a fantastic job of appearing detached when there was need for it, and confused when he needed to be. Being probably one of the only main characters in the movie whose back story and personality was not expressly revealed through dialogue, he does an amazing job of telling us a lot about his character, Nicholas, by his personality and his mannerism.
More than anything else, the story in this movie is just amazing, and not just the core story itself but the little bits that make-up the whole. Unlike many other movies that I’ve been unfortunate enough to sit through nowadays the characters are developed amazingly well without being so obvious and before the conflict takes off.
After seeing so many movies where the main conflict and central focus of the entire movie is jealousy between wives or mothers or queens, it is a huge relief to see actual intelligible conflict in a movie for once. The conflict in the movie is not so unrealistically simplified that there is one central conflict and everything else just revolves around it. It’s more realistic as the characters each have their own struggles and problems (Nicholas with his presentation, Zainab with pleasing her boss, Gbade with holding to his principles) before this grand conflict arises and takes center stage.
The scriptwriter does an amazing job of tying everything together so that nothing is out of place and everything is related in one way or another whether or not it is explicitly stated. So much so that I am tempted to say that the scriptwriter was the star of the movie. But nothing is without its flaws, in the final scenes a future character is reading the parts we also as the main movie and it’s dated as 1995-6. But if that’s the case then there was a lot of anachronism in the entire thing, especially with the technology used, and the vehicles.
Nicholas begins to see visions of people dying, and he tries to stop it. In one case however, he is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is charged with murder. Zainab, played by the effortless Kehinde Bankole, a reporter is the first to get the inside story, she then publishes it and is contacted by Nicholas who is now a man-on-the-run. Watching Kehinde Bankole on screen is nothing short of an experience. For me, watching her, I tend to forget that I’m supposed to be reviewing a movie because she commands your attention throughout.
The movie has an amazing supporting cast, I’m not certain of Bryan Okwara’s performance but he only had that many lines so it’s hard to say. Speaking of lines, Inspector Gbade, played by the stunning Deleke Aroleye, probably had the best lines in the entire movie from the “I want to know everything about her. If she has her period, I want to know about it” to the “Young man, I hear you’re a fast driver. Prove it” but I felt like he could have given me more than he was giving me, regardless he did his role justice.
Big props to the graphics team for this movie, probably one of the best I’ve ever seen in Nollywood. You can tell, watching the movie, that someone put in work and it’s not a rushed drop-chicken-drop-beads-say-incantations-fake-fire-appears-chicken-vanishes kind of gig. Effort was put in and it showed.
Watching this movie, they mention a lot of seemingly futuristic things for Nigeria like phone-tracking and license-plate lookup and I’m sitting here thinking I highly doubt the Nigerian police can do it that, but I will play along.
The movie requires your attention and if you blink you might miss something critical. It’s not that scary of a movie (and I would know) and the ending was definitely not what I expected. Occasionally the video quality is questionable and there is not much action in this adventure, but all in all it’s an amazing first.