Before the activities of Netflix Naija, a movie like Black Rose probably wouldn’t have gotten as much attention as it is getting now. Ranking among the top 10 most watched on the platform on its release week makes one wonder what it is all about. And even though it is not exactly the best movie out there, it needs to be seen. 

Black Rose is a 2018 movie produced and directed by the Enugu-born filmmaker Okechukwu Oku. His name may not be resounding in the ears of the audience but he has quite a wide portfolio of movies that are proof that he knows his onions.

Okechukwu Oku originally started off as a cinematographer and has since branched out to other aspects of the field. He personally shot, edited, produced, and directed Black Rose. The movie tells the story of a virtuous young lady from a humble background who falls in love with a man from a different class and soon realizes some hard truth.

Although it has been recognized as a good movie and has won awards, it does have its shortcomings. Here are highlights of the good and bad of this beloved movie.

Strengths

The Black Rose Cast

The director did a really good thing by casting Lilian Echelon. She is not really a popular face but she may just become one soon. Her delivery was near perfection and she definitely deserved the nomination as the best actress at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards.

Ebele Osaro was also very good in the movie. She did seem quite excessive at some point but it all came together nicely. The younger siblings did quite alright considering how hard it can be to get young kids to act correctly.

Blossom Chukwu didn’t give his best performance but his delivery was sufficient. In all, the acting was good.

Language Switch

In most Nollywood movies, the characters tend to stick to a particular language. It is mostly portrayed as if a particular class of the society doesn’t understand English while the rich counterparts don’t understand their local dialect. Black Rose stood out in this aspect as all the characters made an effortless switch between the English language and their local dialects.

Production Design

the attention to detail of the creative production department is applaudable. From the setting of the homes to the mechanic’s shop to the seemingly natural makeup to the upgrade in Rose’s wardrobe upon getting involved with Desmond’s business, everything was on point.

Extras, a.k.a., waka pass

Oftentimes, extras tend to dampen the energy with their subpar performance but that was not the case for Black Rose. Everyone’s performance seemed natural and that pulled the movie together nicely.

Movie Title

It may not have been intended to be so deep but it is. It is a play on words on the name of the character, the unfortunate turn of event, and the deceptive appearance of Desmond. The cleverness of this must be commended.

Weaknesses

Directing

There were a few times where there was a sudden change in reaction. The switch seemed unnatural and one can only assume it was the way the director wanted it. One such reaction was when Rose saw Desmond for the first time. Her reaction was not that of someone who was fascinated or infatuated by what she had seen but that of someone who just saw someone she knows from her past.

That reaction was a bit confusing as it would keep the audience anticipating a big reveal of what may have brought them together in the first place. And it could have been an attempt at suspense but it really wasn’t necessary. Another of these reactions is Desmond crying for Rose when he had to surrender to his friends. His tears make one wonder if he genuinely cared about Rose but then his actions later disproved it. Why then did he cry?

Monologue

The monologue Rose gave when she opened up to her sister had a nice ring to it. It was well delivered with the right kind of emotion. She put things into perspective, even so, it became so confusing as she jumbled a lot of things together. The writer probably wanted it to be deep but he did not really have to. It could have simply been a straightforward epiphany of why she did the things she did.

Plot Holes and Unexpected Twist

As clever as the reveal of who the story is actually about was, there seemed not to be a build-up to the twist. It appears the writer didn’t want it to be just another regular story but maybe it wouldn’t have been bad if it was. Also, the plot had some holes in it that has you questioning some things. Questions like why did rose have to faint during the prayer, how did Nelo become so successful so quickly, how the mum knew to pray at that exact time, mother’s intuition maybe but it seems too premeditated and needlessly spiritual. 

Took too long to get to the point

Black Rose was unnecessarily dragged out. Even after the first 45mins, one is left to wonder what the point of the movie might be. It was a bit discouraging as it went from suspenseful to boring.

Editing

The editing was good for the most part but some of the shots selected to tell the story could have been substituted for better ones. This is, however, an insignificant issue.

Conclusion

Despite its flaws, this movie is an accurate representation of some of the challenges people are faced with as they go about their daily lives. Its approach in dealing with its subject theme is quite fascinating. This movie is proof that the little guys in the Nollywood industry are making just as much of an effort as the well-celebrated filmmakers.

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