OLOTURE was confirmed to be sourced from a real-life material that was far more gripping than what was shown in the movie.

Tobore Ovuori, an investigative journalist, went undercover in Lagos as a prostitute and witnessed orgies with politicians, transactional sex and murder on a first account basis. Her expose titled ‘Inside Nigeria’s Ruthless Human Trafficking Mafia’ was written and published in 2014 on Premium times and Zam magazine.

Mosunmola Abudu, a Nigerian Media Mogul decides to tell the story to the world in moving pictures. To do that she needs an auteur to make a dazing film that will stir conversations and hearts.

She taps no other person than Kenneth Gyang. A Jos based film director who has been regarded as the Golden boy of Nollywood. His works include The lost café and Confusion Na Wa which have been revered by cinema audiences. 

Kemi Lala Akindoju, Omowunmi Dada, Sharon Ooja, Pearl Okorie, and Wofai Fada in Òlòturé (2019). Photo: IMDB
Kemi Lala Akindoju, Omowunmi Dada, Sharon Ooja, Pearl Okorie, and Wofai Fada in Òlòturé (2019). Photo: IMDB

Cinematography

Right from the beginning of the picture, Kenneth dares to take a single long shot that introduces us to the ashawo world of Oloture. Every single thing in front of the camera moved and spoke at a calculated assigned second. A single miss of word/movement would have meant starting all over again. Somehow, they were able to pull a single camera continuity for a solid 5 minutes.

Another accolade that OLOTURE should get is also its perfect recreation of the border. From what the director shared the border scene was filmed on location in Eko Atlantic Lagos.

This means every buyer, seller, car, truck; bike placed in that traffic jam was researched and recreated just to resemble how it looks like in real life.

 In other countries, you can easily get this right but in Nigeria where filmmaking is hard enough with little or no resources to spare – this is quite remarkable.  

Casting choices

No argument here, Omowumi Dada’s performance was the most visible. She plays Linda a professional ashawo that has become the breadwinner of her family still living in the village.

From her by trying to make ends meet to her unsuspecting beheading – one could tell her acting prowess has been underutilized in Nollywood. Her on-screen persona made the character raw and easy to connect with.  

Sharon Ooja

Playing two personas. An ashawo and a journalist. Sharon was unable to smoothly transition when needed but still manage to give a forgivable performance.

Beverly Osu

if you think acting is all about playing dress-up and speaking lines, you are dead wrong. Beverly Osu playing the Peju character in the film gave a loud and astonishing performance with her silent character in the film.

She was headstrong on going to Europe no matter the circumstances and found a way to ooze that resolve without a single word from her mouth. We dare say, under the directorship of Kenneth, she bested her other basic and mediocre performances.  

Daniel Etim Effiong

Daniel played Tony; a mafia contact from the sex trafficking ring. With less than a 3 minutes screen time for this character, Daniel delivered like a boss. 

It is unsettling, however, the way his character was purposeless in the film. No arc, No back story just slapped to our faces and disappeared after.

Omoni Oboli

For the first time since figurine, Omoni wielded her acting skills for the camera. Her character, Alero an ex- ashawo turn pimp/ sex trafficker was a character with a hellish history.   

Omoni was able to pull off her nuances well above average in the picture but not quite stable throughout the course of the film as one would expect.

Perhaps the current conditions of the industry that makes her to write/produce and direct have made her acting craft too weak to recover from.

Good use of music

When a film finds just the right music that enhances its underlying theme – the result turns out to be rich on-screen goodness that intensifying what was going on at the moment. This is the case for ÒLÒTŪRÉ.

Whoever was in charge did a good job in scoring each scene individually especially with the genius of Falz the bahd guy and Victor Olaiya title tracks that were heavy on social commentary. If you appreciate this, then you have a catching ear for good music.

Production design

OLOTURE reveals the dirty world of men and pimps who use women as a means to an end. Hence any slight mistake from the prop, costumes and location would have failed the film but thankfully, it didn’t.

Prostitute’s characters dressed in the right costumes truly reflected quite well with Yolanda Okereke (head of costume design) finding the right balance of exposure and patterns. This made them not distracting to what was going on in each scene.

Overall, Mo Abudu and her able team of producers did a good job on the abovementioned fronts.

Summary

OLOTURE was indeed one of the most anticipated films due to the fact it addressed a lingering social issue, sex trafficking. The trailer dropped mid-2019 to a rave. Upon its release as a Netflix original, it became one of the most-watched movies on the streaming service.  

 Mo Abudu and her team did a great job telling this story. In addition to the conversations of sex trafficking it evoked, this film made a credible statement for Nollywood.

Watch on ÒLÒTŪRÉ on Netflix

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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