2016, Movies

Just Not Married (2016, Uduak-Obong Patrick)

This film means well. It tells the age-old story of an elder (an older brother in this case) trying to prevent a younger family member following him into a life of crime. Many of the elements from these stories are present, and some of them are handled well. And it’s funny, at times.

But this is a poorly made film. The most glaring aspect of it is the sound, which is, at times, borderline unlistenable. A few scenes should have been re-recorded. (My guess is they ran out of money.) The sound mix is also awful: the sound (either the actual sound or score) drops out for seconds at a time. And the actual film cuts are glaring, as well. Remember when watching an old film stock movie, and you could physically see the cuts? Well, you can see them here. In fact, the film feels as though little post-production work was done on it, as there is no post-production sound (other than the score), the cuts feel like a first try, and the subtitles were incomplete and, at one point, doubled up.

And those are just the production problems. The acting is, at times, wooden. (I should say that, at other times, some of the actors were quite good.) Sometimes it felt like some of the actors were literally thinking about their lines – trying to remember them, or trying to remember how to act – while saying their lines.

I was prepared to forgive all of this because I thought Nigerian cinema was an emerging cinema. It’s not. In fact, it has been one of the largest national cinemas in the world. What surprises me is not that such an amateurish film would be made, but that it would find its way to TIFF, given that it feels like it hasn’t even been finished.

4/10, because I really do not know enough about Nigerian cinema to know what the production standards are. But part of me thinks the rating should be lower.

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