Please take a second to look at the introductory line at the top of this blog, you would find out that I am interested in music, politics and art (Not just music, but all three letters of the word, ‘art’). Unfortunately, I have very artfully avoided writing a review on any Nigerian movie for the mere reason that I really don’t like negativity, and believe me, if I were to write about any of them, you’d need to brace up for a ton full of that!
Enter, ‘The Figurine’. I’m keenly aware that the film came out in 2009 and thus a bit stale to write about, but I confess, that’s how long it takes me to gather up the mental fortitude to torture my intellect with another hurriedly churned out Nollywood flick, but believe me, ‘The Figurine was nothing like the rest of ‘em. It stands out like a black man in Alberta, Canada. I’d tell you why in the paragraphs that follow.
Let’s set it off with a little introduction. The Figurine is a 2009 thriller written by Kemi Adesoye and produced and directed by Kunle Afolayan who also starred in it- and I dare say, did a damn good job in all the roles he played in this movie. The film received 10 nominations and won 5 awards at the African Movie Academy awards in 2010, including awards for Best Picture, Heart of Africa, AMAA Achievement in Cinematography and AMAA Achievement in Visual Effect.
Let’s start with the things I loved about this movie, especially as compared to the million and one other Nollywood productions lining wooden shelves on the dusty streets of Alaba International market. First was the Title, ‘The Figurine’. It didn’t scream out what the storyline was essentially about unlike its counterparts. It really does piss me off when I see a Nigerian movie and the title did a chillingly good summary of the film. My fingers itch to type out names but I think I’d leave that hanging as a little game you can play when next you come in contact with these movies. Just look at the title, and if you’re the courageous type, watch the film. You’d be pleasantly surprised to find out that you just wasted your time. Sometimes when im really bored, I walk into a video store and watch days of Nollywood flicks in minutes by just reading the titles.
I also liked the beginning of the film. It was mystic, catchy and not unconnected with the essence of the movie. It was also nice seeing Ramsey Nouah in a very different light from the stereotype he has gingerly settled into over the years in virtually everything he does. I loved that he was speaking Yoruba (Or at least tried to….*smiles*), the hairstyle and the personality he portrayed. This is the kind of thing you throw at an actor to find out how versatile he is and thus how much of an actor he is anyway.
Background music: Again, it did not turn out to be another musical background narrative that spoiled any possible iota of suspense embroidered, purposefully or otherwise into the plot. I appreciated its cultural theme; it was a soothing Yoruba piece with the name of the goddess we’re by now all getting worked up over sewn into the fabric of the melody.
Cast: Kunle and Ramsey actually looked like they could be corpers. I’ve seen producers try to fit in obese, multiparous actresses into the role of sizzling undergraduate spinsters ‘like say none of us go skool’. I immediately fell in love with the rude boy, nonchalant attitude of Kunle and as I said earlier, think he did a good job acting out his role. One more thing that went right with the casting was the scene when the corpers were at the parade grounds. It was noteworthy that they appeared in numbers you’d expect at such a gathering and not just a representative number as I’ve seen some directors do so as to save money.
Cameras: Well, what can I say, there was a reason it won awards in the cinematography category. It was top notch. #Gbam
Dialogue: For once, or at least in a verrrrryyy long time, a Nollywood movie actually had dialogue that made my ears want to listen. It was not the nitwit baby babble that dominate many others in its category.
Effect: Frankly, I imagine anybody reviewing a Naija home video would have to soft pedal when talking of effects therein compared to other ‘–woods’ as any producer would tell you they do not have the same kind of funds that their colleagues in other parts of the world have access to. On that note, I think they did quite well with the floating body of the dead priest in the early minutes of the film, as well as subsequent rains and thunder at other segments.
Drawbacks: Yes ‘nau’. Did you really think there’d be none? Even the best Hollywood films are dotted with one or two things that could have been done better, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if my dear figurine has some of its own. The first I think my censorious eye picked was at the Dean’s office when Kunle Afolayan went to get his papers signed. The Dean initially said he did not know that the postings were out then subsequently goes on to say concerning ‘Araromire’, “That’s where Mona was posted to” and I don’t think that information was in the book he opened.
Another drawback occurred at about 1.00hr. There was something disjointed about the sound transitions between the golf course and Mona’s conversation with her friend. I also have a problem with the way the film ended. In theory, it ended well. At least we’re made to believe Ramsey died and Linda survived, but I really did not think the last two screen shots were necessary. What exactly was the point of showing Mona opening her eyes with Ramsey looking into the distance? It was like spoiling a beautiful colourful painting by placing a stroke of black across, smudging the aesthetics. Nevertheless, I sorta get the point of the “What do you believe?” part at the end.
All in all, I think it was a beautiful picture and think it deserves 4 stars. No kidding-even the gods know that.