2013, Movies

Broken (2013, Bright Wonder Obasi)

Had I not seen other Nollywood movies, I might have been shocked by how awful this film’s production values are. But having seen a number of Nollywood movies now, I know that this is actually above average when it comes to those production values. It’s only the sound that’s really, really awful (and only at times), – this one is seemingly pretty competently edited, which is not always the case.

But watching a movie when the cast and crew (and their friends and family) are in the audience and watching a film on Netflix are two very different experiences, and those experiences affect how I view a movie like this. At TIFF, I feel like I’m likely to think more kindly of it, because the people who made it are there, representing their movie, their cinema and their culture, and I want the best for them, even if I think the film is shoddily made.

On the other hand, at home on the couch, I have no such feelings, and instead I just get frustrated with the sound and the rather shitty sets. The sound has the typical Nollywood issues: screams and noises overload the mics, people come into physical contact with the mics, and sometimes the sound is mixed too low (or the music too high). There is this bizarre tire screech that appears so many times, too, and it gets annoying. The sets are also really bad and it’s clear that some of them are made of paper. It’s also clear that they didn’t have the money or ability to get into too many places, as the film is set in very few places, all of which are quite small.

The acting feels a little less naturalistic than other Nollywood films I’ve seen, and there are a number of Soap Opera-style pauses and meaningful stares, which also hurts. This is reinforced by the plot, all about “bastard children,” which feels like a soap opera too.

Finally, the message that we all need whole families is told in a clunky way that could feel like it is blaming women for male sexual proclivities.

So I find myself liking this less than some of the other Nollywood films I’ve seen, despite the fact that it’s more competent than most of them.


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