BY TNS GUEST REVIEWER
So last night was the screening of Ishaya Bako’s Road to Yesterday which we all know is Genevieve Nnaji’s first attempt at trying her hands on Producing. I attended as an AFRIFF industry delegate which meant that I was in a hall filled with fellow filmmakers who didn’t merit to be on the very exclusive VIP guest list. These select few were in a different hall with stern looking private security guards manning the entrance.
I had several reasons to see this film. First being to see how Ishaya Bako would direct this film seeing that this was his first feature; and if the trailer was anything to go by, this was supposed to be a very engaging drama. Second was the fact that Genevieve Nnaji is one of the few talents I respect in the industry and to be privileged to witness her transition into producing was time worth investing.
Road to Yesterday is a film told in flashbacks; which were one too many. An estranged couple on a road trip begins to unpack their emotions in an attempt to uncover the reasons behind a betrayal. The film started over an hour later than advertised and this was already beginning to annoy the crowd with some declaring that ‘the only way they would forgive the organizers was for the film to live up to its hype’.
Without spoiling anything for those of you who are yet to see this film, I am just going to rant about what I feel should have been better. To start with, the dialogue was dreadful! The writing wasn’t elementary, if it was, you would see potentials. It wasn’t basic, because at the very least it would have some good moments. The thing didn’t even attempt to be ‘on the nose’, at least this could have allowed us to see what it was trying to achieve. This was worse than a first draft and that’s where the director first failed me. I mean, if the producer couldn’t tell that the dialogue was bad, what is your job as ‘able ‘D’? Imagine nearly every spoken line repeated back and forth in a tedious banter going nowhere and advancing nothing.
Acting was just as bad. Izu, our lead male was too rigid and you felt he was the only one enjoying the sound of his own voice. Comedian and recently turned actor Chigurl, had no business in this movie. If the character was designed as the comic relief, it failed. I personally was afraid for her; Chigurl really didn’t add any value to the ensemble. Then there were the ‘waka-pass’ actors at the bar who essentially set their careers back a few years with their criminal performances. Genevieve Nnaji had moments of brilliance but these were always immediately swallowed up by below par deliveries from the other cast.
So did this movie have any positives? Yes, I loved the tone and what it tried to do. The twist was great and perhaps the only thing that rescued it from being a total waste of my time. Overall, Genevieve has been brave with this project and should be forgiven for a lot of the issues the movie has. It is never easy to make a great film and she can only get better. Amen.