After three years of waiting, I finally got to see the long-time champion of over-hyped movies in Nollywood history, The Mirror Boy. After that long of a wait, and not necessarily even taking that wait period into consideration, I am disappointed to say that I really don’t see what the hype was about.
For the most part of this movie I was confused, and about an hour and some minutes into this movie I stopped and said to myself “this movie better have a fantastic end and resolution to this confusion that I’ve been enduring this entire time”.
Watching this movie, I don’t know where my allegiance lies but in retrospect, asking to have known that much is a bit far-fetched considering that I had no clue what exactly was happening: who is the good guy? who is the bad guy? why are people acting the way they’re acting? Is Genevieve’s weak reaction to her son’s kidnap a sign that she really doesn’t care that much or just bad acting on her part? why does a market lead into a forest that leads into a village?
Mirror boy appears as a deep mystical different kind of storyline but in the end it’s just another Nollywood movie. The main themes, the motifs, the ideas are really just another made-in-Asaba movie played out with better camera action, increased PR, and a highly rated actress.
It starts off in London with Genevieve and her son, played by Edward Kagutuzi. Edward’s character gets into a little bit of a problem, and in a very fresh-prince-of-Bellaire move his mother ships him off to Gambia. She intends to drop him off with his aunt (a fact that the audience is not made aware of until halfway through the movie, by the way) but somewhere along the line he goes missing and along comes the mirror boy.
The mirror boy really isn’t about Edward Kagutuzi’s character, neither is it about Genevieve’s character, in the end the movie turns out to be quite simplistic and not very much different from your regular Nollywood flick. Edward who plays the young Tijan, holds his own as an actor quite well. There was definitely room for improvement especially when it comes to emoting and being a bit more convincing. However, he did a fair enough job considering.
Genevieve as Tijan’s mother was really underwhelming. Her reaction to her son’s kidnap and well… her reaction to everything seemed a bit underplayed that at some point I wasn’t even sure anymore if she was simply a caring mother or she had some other agenda.
Osita Iheme as the mirror boy was at first puzzling. I use the term “at first” here not because by the end he is any less puzzling but because in the beginning it’s hard to understand his accent, and the reason why he has an accent (which is apparently because that’s how Gambians speak), it’s hard to see him outside comedy and to see him in a non-comedic role, and he’s also puzzling because you don’t know if he is there to help the protagonist or to make matters worse. However, as the movie progresses you get used to his character, you get used to the accent, and you begin to embrace the idea that you will probably never understand what is going on in this movie.
Having said all of this, I must acknowledge the good. Obi Emelonye, writer and director of this movie, was able to successfully take a regular Nollywood movie storyline and make something different out of it. He did this with beautiful actors in beautiful clothes at amazing sets and displayed on vivid video. But asides from that, I hate to say that Mirror Boy really isn’t all that it was hyped up to be.