Much was expected from Kemi Adetiba after the success of her directorial debut, ‘The Wedding Party’ so it was with much anticipation that I went to watch her sophomore project ‘King Of Boys’.. I watched it last night at Silver Bird cinemas, Ikeja and to say, I’m not disappointed is putting it mildly. The film is outrageously, fantastically good. Excellent. I’m gushing.. I know… I can not help it.. neither will you when you get to watch it. So what made the movie so great?
THE STORY; The first thing that drives a film forward is the story… the plot. It was strong. contemporary and authentically Nigerian and gritty. It centres around Alhaja Eniola Salami, (expertly acted by Sola Sobowale) a business woman, local politician and general ‘Area Mama’ who is grappling to hold on to the vestiges of power as she feels the young Guns, nipping at her heels trying so desperately to take it away from her. She must fight with all she’s got, both physically & spiritually to stop her empire and all she has worked so hard for, from going to the dogs.
THE CAST: The casting was on point. Sola Sobowale bodied the character of Eniola Salami. She dug deep within and laid her all on the floor. As we say in Nollywood, ‘she chewed the script, swallowed it, and regurgitated it out! Fantastic acting. She was closely followed by Toni Tones who played her younger self. I was amazed at Toni’s transformation! She literally became Sola Sobowale’s Eniola! Her mannerisms, diction and stance were all Aunty Sola. When she walked into the scene and started speaking, the audience immediately picked up that this is the younger Eniola without being told, even though they do not in anyway look alike. Adesua Etomi-Wellington ofcourse did not disappoint. She was able to encapsulate her role as Eniola’s British-trained-Lawyer-adopted daughter. I was also very impressed by Demola Adedoyin who played Kitan, Eniola’s handsome but spoiled, drug-addicted playboy son. Demola really convincingly embodied the character. He really had that look of a dangerous, but functioning drug addict. My only grouse with Kemi was (Spoiler Alert!) that she did not let the character come into his own and live up to the potential I know was buried in him, after all he is his mother’s son. (Sorry! I am very vested in this story!) I was really rooting for Kitan…Oh well!
I was quite impressed by Reminisce’ acting. For a first time actor to take on this major lead role as ‘Akorede aka Makanaki‘ was impressive. He was actually one of my favourite actors in the film. Lol I also loved Ill Bliss who played the role of Underworld Kingpin ‘Odogwu Malay‘, lending the very essential addition of the Eastern factor to the Lagos landscape.
Another character worthy of mention was Akin Lewis. I loved his character as the bloated, corrupt Are. He was hilarious without meaning to be. All the beating about the bush, praising Eniola without ever giving anything or offering any promises like all those well-meaning but none helping ‘uncles’ had me eye-rolling. And Akin Lewis played that character to the T.
A lot of people say that Yoruba actors do a better job than the English actors and I am tempted to agree. Perhaps because of the spontaneity & naturalness of acting in one’s native dialect. English is after all our second language. Which brings me to another aspect;
DIALOGUE: The dialogue was good. Great English dialogue, interspersed by the local dialects of Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and Pidgin English were generously splattered around. I loved the use of proverbs as well. Like morsels of delicious food in a well cooked soup, it was widely and appropriately used.. even Adesua was spoke in proverbs! Lol.
COSTUME: The producers did not play when it came to the use of good costumes. Whoever handled costumes did a fabulous job. The characters all wore great, appropriate costumes for their characters. I loved the showcasing of traditional Nigerian attire. Reminisce especially tripped me wearing beautifully blinged-out danshikis and other Afrocentric attire. in keeping with his character. Sola Sobowale’s character wore expensive lace, geles, jewelry etc, Adesua’s costumes were something else. All the latest, trendy outfits and stuff. There was a particular scene, the opening scene which is of an Owambe party, you could see the producers really went all out and spent money as most characters were decked in expensive asoebi & geles etc.
CINEMATOGRAPHY: The picture quality was good. I was particularly impressed with the last scene where they showed a realistic scene of a house on fire with smoke and everything. While I was watching that scene, I shook my head and said Kemi is just a mahd girl! She really took the time and effort to realistically stage a scene of the prison burning down in a fire.
SOUND was crisp. I particularly loved the music in the film. Ofcouse, what do you expect when Reminisce & Ill Bliss were in the film! That’s a given! I went to the film’s website and saw that there is actually a soundtrack called Original Gangster by Sess The Prblm, feat. Reminisce & Adekunle Gold already streaming on itunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, youtube etc. https://fanlink.to/OriginalGangster Kemi is clearly is not here to play with you. She is here to make that paper and all I can say is ‘get it, Girl!’. There are so many opportunities for producers to make money from their products other than what obtains now, so this is a good development.
Make up was very good. The dead bodies shown looked realistic and the beatings with blood and gore looked real.
The downside in the film for me was the killing off of some key characters. There are certain points as a writer that you look for in a character such as his arch; how he grows from one point and comes into his own .. I did not see that in two particular characters which I will not say so I dont spoil the film if you have not watched it. I felt two key characters were not allowed to coem into their own that killed what would have been a beautiful story. I also feel the end could have been tighter.. the lead character should have been able to exact her revenge personally on whoever challenged her. This would have added more credence to her title as King Of Boys. That apart it was a great film.
LESSONS TO LEARN:
Kemi broke many norms in producing this film. The norm that says ‘Nigerians only want to watch comedy’ was shattered. She does away with the slapstick comedy that was the normal fare of our cinema movies and spun a tale about crime, corruption, violence, politics and social justice. She also shattered the norm that all films must be 90 mins…this one was 3 hours long! Even the norm that ‘your poster must be bright and bold with shapely girls’ was shattered. The ‘ King of Boys’ poster is dark, shadowy.. infact it is red and black.. a colour I found off putting at first untill the reviews came in. So this film has shown that if you have a strong story and your movie is well made, Nigerians will come out in their thousands to support it. I was greatly encouraged when I saw the lines of people queuing to watch the film when I went to watch. It gives me a lot of hope for the Nigerian producer.
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To see crowds like this queue to watch your film is the reward & joy of any producer! For Nigerians to take time out of their busy schedule, give your their hard earned money AND say they enjoyed your film is not beans!! This was the scene yesternight (8pm) at Silverbird Ikeja Shopping Mall, Alausa to watch @kemiadetiba's #kingofboysmovie Well worth it. You usually only see queues like this for #HollywoodBlockbusters ✌️😎😊 Check link in bio for my review! #TheTideIsChanging #AllForNollywood #NigerianFilmIndustry #NigerianMovies #SettingThePace
So well done Kemi and thank you. Thank you for showing it can actually be done.
King of Boys is still showing in cinemas all over Nigeria. Go out and watch and support it biko, so this talented lady will have more money to produce more films!