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Cinema Review: Despite Its Stars, Beyond Blood Just Staggers Over The Line


Kehinde Bankole is one of the few actresses who would easily fit into a suit or a secondary school uniform without hassles. With just the right makeup, Kehinde Bankole can transform into anything, but one thing remains constant: her great acting.

She appears in virtually every scene in Beyond Blood, a 2016 movie by Greg Odutayo. A star-studded movie, Beyond Blood tells a story of a woman, Moji, who experiences an unpleasant chain of events that sends her running to the UK in the guise of finding a long-lost brother, to get her mind sorted. Things don’t get any better in the UK as her life is being threatened by her lost brother’s many enemies, and she has no other choice but to trust a complete stranger to help her find and help him. In the course of her mission, she gets a little too fond of the stranger, and another unpleasant chain of events send her running back to the home she left.

For a movie with veterans like Bimbo Manuel, Caroline King, Joseph Benjamin, Deyemi Okanlawon, Wole Ojo, or even the runaway screen diva, Shan George, you can only expect an impeccable piece of screen goodness. Anything short would be a shock. Luckily, Beyond Blood narrowly wins as a fine movie. Narrowly, because while the storyline is refreshing and original, it drags, a little too long it waters the beauty down by half.

The movie starts out with an evident chemistry between the protagonist and her fiancé, Benjy, and a passion for road-side sex-workers that drives her in spite of everyone’s disapproval. Then suddenly, we don’t hear about this passion for almost the rest of the movie, and we keep asking what the point of the ashawo ministry was. In truth, that bit doesn’t do too much to the story. Whether or not her favourite ashawo dies, the movie would have gone on, and gone on fine. We are grateful still; at least we get to see another stellar performance from our Ijeoma Agu, Master of ashawo roles of the Federal Republic. Ijeoma is bae.

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Her enthusiasm for the fiancé begins to dwindle along the line, and we realize, at some point in the movie, that she never really loved Mr Fiancé. It’s a little difficult to reconcile, but we manage to. We are forgiving like that.

I don’t know if the switches from English to Yoruba to French do this movie any justice. I know, it is an attempt to enhance its ‘realness’ yeah?’ I get it too. However, it is rather burdensome to have to keep darting your eyes to the bottom of the screen every now and again to read subtitles. I’m awed by the mastery of the languages by the actors though. I love it when artistes step out of their comfort zones for their craft. Applause.

There are certain flaws too. In the beginning, Moji claims to have been classmates with Benjy (Okey Uzoechi) in Harvard. Somewhere along the line, her father says he sent her to Oxford. Thorough editing could have nipped this in the bud. Once again, Wole Ojo is sad and grumpy almost throughout the movie. Yes, Wole is an excellent actor, but the monotony of “sad and grumpy” isn’t good for his “still budding” career. Then there’s the very irrelevant ATM scene, obviously a bank advertisement. There are more subtle ways to go about this, you know.

Deyemi Okanlawon does what he does best, and Joseph Benjamin dazzles us once again, not just with his fine-boyness, but with a bad-boyness to match. Caroline King is just divine in her role as mother. Divine. The music is great and the picture isn’t bad. Our famous Lekki bridge makes us proud in this one yet again, and I like how our artistes hold their own in another man’s land, with foreign actors.

All in all, Beyond Blood is a good attempt. It has lessons too: of loyalty, determination, courage, importance of family and the reality of HIV/AIDS. The chemistry between the actors is fluid, and overall, it is quite believable. Erm, save for that last reconciliation. A little too easy maybe, but enough of the spoilers already; go see it for yourself. I must warn you, however: If you’re not as patient as I am, Beyond Blood could be sleep-inducing, but if you are, I hope you like it as much as I did.

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