I know I’ve been MIA again but somehow I doubt if you guys really missed me considering there’s never a dull moment in our beloved Naija. From the missing First Person saga to report that Nigerian is a country of “baboons and jackals” and the rumoured death of a Nollywood act. The drama just neverrrrrr ends with us. All the same your friendly neighbourhood Jollyhood’s glad to be back. And I’m sure you are too. (Huge grin).
And being someone who never renegades on a promise, I’m sticking with the one to review a Naija movie once a month (heartfelt sigh), with the currently trending one “Isoken”. I went to see the film a couple of weeks back amidst some high expectations and the ravings of critics, audience and the film industry in general. And was it worth the hype? Guess you’ll find out soon enough.
Isoken is a 2016 romantic dramady comedy that explores the pressures of being a matured single women in a society that regards the marriage institution as their most important achievement. Written and directed by Jadesola Osiberu (at least she didn’t also star in it like some people we know), the film stars Dakore Akande, Joseph Benjamin, Marc Rhys, Funke Akindele-Bellos, Damilola Adegbite Attoh, Lydia Forson, Tina Mba and Patrick Doyle. Dakore stars as the titular character, a beautiful, successful lady in her mid-thirties who appears to have it all except for the one thing our society deems most important for any woman; a husband. But when she finally does find an eligible suitor, she gets embodied in a love triangle with another not no suitable.
Reports have it that Isoken grossed #55 million in ten days of cinema viewing and was produced on a budget of #80 million. Reports that sadly can’t be verified seeing that Nollywood doesn’t have an independent agency to monitor cinema sales and production budgets and all. Another area of the film business that should be explored, don’t you think?
Isoken received mostly positive reviews from critics, who praised Dakore’s performance, the subtle chemistry between her and her two admirers and the whole ensemble cast. And what’s Jollyhood’s take?
That Osiberu’s Isoken put a lighthearted and enjoyable spin to the deep subject of the pressure faced by MSW in the Nigerian society. I suppose for moi, the biggest fear with Isoken was watching another “The Wedding Party” film with a different cast and producer. We all know how good a copycat Nigerians can be; we love to mass produce anything that we believe that’s profitable at the moment like a gossip blog (tongue in cheek) or shot comedic films since we’ve arrived at a conclusion that audiences only want to watch comedies especially one with a wedding party twist. SMH. And don’t ask me how we arrived at that conclusion? All I know is I certainly didn’t want to watch Wedding Party 2 with a different cast and thankfully Isoken managed not to fall into that… category by adding a deeper plot to the storyline which was sadly lacking in The Wedding Party. Yes I said it! Wedding Party fans can shoot me if you want *cheeky grin* But it’s the truth, The Wedding Party thrived basically on the shenanigans of the cast while Isoken spiced up a societal menace with light comedy.
I have to hand it to them for a top notch production quality. I’m glad to see that Nigerian producers aren’t sponging off quality in terms of sound and picture which are very essential to enjoying a movie. Top marks also for costume which were so colourful and beautiful especially the native attire which were a good rep of our traditional events. Soundtrack was nice too. I liked the mix of contemporary with our indigenous songs. The Open Mic spot was nice. Can anyone tell where it’s located?
I have to agree that the ensemble cast blended well together. Hats off for Tina Mba, who played the role of an overbearing, marriage obsessed mother to the hilt. And Dakore and Rhys pulled off the believable forbidden attraction quite well too. I have some reservations with using “oyibo” cast in Niaja films because more often the producers seem to make do with the ones that can’t act. But I’m glad that wasn’t the case in Isoken with Rhys. Funke, Lydia and Damilola also lent their weight to the story as Dakore’s besties even though the four tag team friendship thing is a bit old.
Now it sounds like I don’t have any grouse against this film. Hmm… unfortunately maybe a few. One of which is that Isoken fell into the category of another predictable film with a boring, cliché romcom ending. And secondly the make-up wasn’t so good. There were times when it looked like Dakore and her friends had ghoulish masks on with the over applied layers of foundation on their faces. Eww! But apart from that; Isoken’s was well crafted. Thumbs up Osiberu! I learnt some new stuff from our movie like 1: Post-Colonial Blues; thinking that anything white (foreign) is better and 2: The act of Waxing. Don’t even ask me about the latter. Lol!
In conclusion folks, Isoken lives up to its hype and is a must watch. Wonder if they’re going to come up with a sequel like the most anticipated The Wedding Party 2. Wonder if it will live up to hype as well. But enough wondering folks. Have a great weekend. XoXo.