THE BRIDGE is a 2017 Nollywood drama directed by Kunle Afolayan (Mokalik) and written by Shola Dada. It features a solid cast that includes Demola Adedoyin, Tina Mba and the director himself.
The plot follows a Yoruba prince, Obadare (Demola Adedoyin) and an upper-class Igbo woman, Stella (Chidinma), who are in love. Their family traditions cannot allow them to marry from a different tribe, but they get married anyway, without their parents’ permission. Granted this is a rushed and very unwise decision, and it has disastrous consequences.
First few scenes…
The Bridge is quite promising in the first few scenes. We meet the lovebirds and their families – Yoruba royalty and Igbo elite. It is obvious that the parents will not accept their marriage, not without war. And it is this war we want to see, and we want to see the couple win. The bridge in the title must mean something – maybe the lovers will bridge the tribal gap and bring their families together. But it is a physical bridge between the regions that the movie is named after. It looks a bit flimsy and the middle is actually damaged, which is nice symbolism. This does not mean that the bridge is actually useful to the story, even though an important plot point takes place right on top of it.
The movie wants us to reject traditions that cause suffering, and tries to create scenarios to preach this. But the way things turn out, the traumatized characters should naturally be less willing to accept intermarriage. After all, see what came of getting involved with that tribe. The story gets weaker and weaker until it ends with a scene that should be both tragic and touching, but will probably make you snort. Even the romance is not sweet enough to be invested in. Apparently, the most they have weathered is strong malaria – no wonder they are so naive.
Acting is average
The acting is great sometimes, but often average. They aren’t really passionate until the end, which is a little too late. Chidinma especially has plenty of room for improvement. She struggles with emoting and doesn’t quite manage to make it look like her character’s natural personality. Demola Adedoyin at least is above average. Kunle Afolayan the director joined the cast and is okay as Jire, Obadare’s good friend. Zack Orji and Tina Mba, who play Stella’s parents, weren’t quite given enough to do, which is unfortunate. Prof. Ayo Akinwale and Binta Ayo Mogaji have the best performance as Obadare’s parents, regal and extremely annoyed with their heir.
Almost picture perfect
When it comes to the cinematography and design, there are only praises to be sung (as long as you ignore the nitpicks and the wonderful photoshop at the end). We loved the beautiful depictions of Yoruba culture and spirituality, and how they still showed that some traditions are harmful, like going to a shrine instead of a hospital when you’re sick. The gods like modern technology too. The costume and set design are also great.
You get the feeling that the movie’s script was drastically altered at the last minute. If not, then it fell victim to poor writing, like many Nollywood movies.