BY DEOYE FALADE
So I’m watching a movie titled Iku Doro which from all visual indications is a crime thriller with cops on the trail of some dare devil robbers. They’ve got a few things going to suggest that it’s a smart one – CCTV surveillance, techy law enforcement agencies, etc.
A scene comes up with a group of detectives in a room profiling the robbers. The profile of a female robber comes up and the analyst reports that she’s a ruthless killer with sharp shooting skills who had earlier spent 8 years in prison and is currently 27 years old.
Wait. 27 years old?
I’m sure you’re thinking what I’m thinking now; the maths just doesn’t add up to the profile and the 8 years in prison is the main headache. This brings us back to one major problem in our movies – details.
It’s everything. You can get the script right, the set, the dialogue and acting but poor attention to detail is a major bummer. Real ‘bad market’. How does someone manage to be a ruthless killer attracting so much police attention after having spent 8 years behind bars? If that was to be the case, there wasn’t enough of a back story to make it believable. And if we don’t believe it, what’s the point?
Unfortunately, it’s not just the small budget movies that fall foul. My skin still crawls whenever I remember Thandie Newton’s Olanna in Half Of A Yellow Sun pronounce Aba as Abba – sounding like she was referring to that awesome music group from back then. For those who go to parties and hit the club from time to time, what party/club scene in a movie even looks like what we experience in life? None! And there are a few more instances – I mean, they should be few but Nollywood seems to find ways of shocking us every now and then. We’re all familiar with the following:
- That ‘old’ man or woman who seems to be aged 60-something but moves around with exaggerated gestures that would make an 80-year-old cringe;
- The odd parents that look just 10 years older than their children;
- Silly looking pregnancies;
- The ghost that watches out for cars before crossing;
- The laughable fatal accident scenes where passengers would die without as much as a scratch on the vehicles;
Now I’m not just going to be all cynical and just slam our dear Nollywood (well, maybe I would but not without reason.) We’re getting better, really. The movie in question was shot a few years ago and if they could put all that effort into making a crime thriller, it meant they thought things through – not just well enough. But we’ve done better in the past with some good crime stories – Silent Night, Desperado and some other earlier thrillers come into mind here.
The difference then was that they thought the stories through and the characters made it even more believable. Who wouldn’t see Segun Arinze back then and think of him as Black Arrow, with a legitimate reason to really hurt you. Even now, I still look at him that way. Now, with seemingly better props to titillate our make-believe mentalities, we’ve suddenly appeared lazy (more on this in another post).
There are a lot of instances in which we could get better with the details and settings. Sure, they cost money and more manpower but getting these things right could help movie makers make more money. Sometimes they don’t even cost money – okay, they cost a good measure of attention and this needs to be paid.
Now, it might be that our people in Nollywood innocently miss these things; it could also be that they know but just do not give a hoot. This could be because the generality of people watching Nollywood movies are ‘simple-minded’ folks that don’t bother with stuff like this. In that case, our dear movie makers would be right – why bother when the viewer isn’t bothered?
But there are people like me; sure we ain’t that much. But our people at Nollywood would be wrong if they just write us off. Some of us get tired of watching Hollywood blockbusters all the time and yearn for good movies here – stories told by us, about people like us, for us. Forget what I wrote earlier, it wouldn’t be wrong, it would be foolish to ignore people who want to see good stories told by dismissing them as ‘snobs’.
Maybe most of those movies aren’t really for us. But in my book, ten is greater than nine and there’s really nothing much for producers and directors to lose by paying a little more attention. They might not be losing anything by going the usual route but they could gain even more.