A Soldier’s Story
Linda Ejiofor, Tope Tedela, Adesuwa Etomi, Daniel K. Daniel, Olumide Oworu, Baaj Adebule, Zainab Balogun, Chukwuma Aligwekwe
Regina, a young female scavenger discovers that the heart of a man left for dead amongst many corpses littering the street after an ambush on some peace keeping corps members by rebel soldiers is still beating. She is compelled to take him home. She has no clue who he is as he had been stripped to his briefs with no form of identification. The young woman caters for him and nurses his injuries for months with the only sign of life being the rise and fall of his chest as he breaths. The young man wakes up later from coma with no recollection of who he is or where he is from. The attack has him suffering from amnesia…
It’s easy to understand why this movie earned so many laurels. It poses as a war thriller but it really is (and I know you’re getting tired of hearing me say this by now) an undercover love story. An undercover love story with one heck of an annoying ending… (come somebody better come up with two or three scenes that you will release on YouTube as the official end to satiate us)
A Soldier’s Story starts off with a Nigerian soldier that has been wed barely a week but finds himself being sent off to a war torn zone, much to the chagrin of his new bride. The soldier, played by Tope Tedela, is caught in the middle of an attack in a foreign country and is left for dead. His wife, back in Nigeria, receives news of her husbands demise and is left to fend for herself when her husband’s Godfather shows up to help her out.
Meanwhile back in the war zone, a citizen, who also happens to be a doctor, stumbles on the soldier’s body and realizes that he is still alive. She takes him in and nurses him back to health. This doctor, played by Linda Ejiofor, ends up falling for him (of course) but apparently she is not in a position to. This is because the resident tout (or king of touts), bossman, has marked her as his pnroperty.
The dynamics continue to change throughout the length of the movie with the doctor’s friend falling for the soldier, the soldier falling for the doctor, etc etc. By the time 2/3rds of the movie is through, you realize that there are two different ways that the story could go at that point. However, for the first time in a while I wasn’t sure which direction the writers would choose but I was fine with both options. The beauty is in the craft of the storyline and how one dynamic flows into the other but none of this could have shown forth on screen without the use of such excellent actors.
I ran out of space trying to keep up with the standout performances. It might be a bit shocking that some of the standout performances are actually not necessarily those on the poster.
To start off Daniel K. Daniel as bossman OWNS the character. At his most pivotal scene, the fight scene in Dr. Gina’s house, I forgot that this was DKD and really felt within every fiber that Bossman was a real person and this ish was about to go down.
The next standout character was a character that comes towards the end of the movie and is introduced to us as “Bello Bastard”. This guy comes into the movie when there is literally less than 10 minutes left for the movie and he still manages to make a strong impression. His performance was so good that as the end credits role, I’m not thinking about the lead characters or the past 90 minutes or so of movie time, I’ve watched. All I’m thinking is “who is Bello Bastard? And when is your next movie coming out?” (Bello Bastard is played by Chukwuma Aligwekwe, and I really hope that we don’t all start referring to him as Bello Bastard from this day forward lol).
The lead actors, Tope Tedela and Linda Ejiofor, did a great job holding the movie together and expressing a wealth of emotions. I have not been so blessed as to see a full movie with Tope Tedela in a major role. I still feel a bit short changed even with this movie, but if his performance in “A Soldier’s Story” is any indication then the day I finally see a full length Tope Tedela starrer, it will be a blessing.
All the other actors in this movie also did really well and a special mention to the young man that plays Dr. Gina’s little brother.
The production of this movie had a few flaws but for the most part it comes out victorious. There is the problem with the audio at various points of the movie such that in any scene where there was a waterfall in the background, the sound of the water was always more pronounced than the sound of the actors. There was also the fact that everytime the machine guns go off they looked like drawings from a comic book, or that the fumes used in the final scenes/or the fire always looked very obviously CGI.
But the production still had its wins. Like the crown that I mentally placed on the head of the makeup director in the opening scenes for such amazing work with the looks for the dead bodies. Or also the many wins of the music director especially with the piano pieces. Talk less of the cinematography that really just jumps at you.
“A Soldier’s Story” together as a movie was a WIN! In some technical parts it falls short but it’s definitely a movie that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon.