As self acclaimed Queen of the association of African Magic Channel Champion Women (AMCCW), wherever our movies are, I am hot in pursuit. Members of our association are known for their shameless addiction to Nigerian movies, even when people speak all sort of obscenities to our faces, mostly ending with Ewww, we just grin at them and mumur a short prayer in our hearts ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they are missing’.
Sometimes, the situation gets ugly, the main guy takes footie, kids take the other view, nobody wants to listen to movie song tracks that tell you the entire movie. It is safe to say I spent a good time of the break in bed, on my phone, watching movies on the Afrinolly app.
Movie title: THE OTHER SIDE
Directed by Ike Nnaebue
Starring: Uche Jombo, Chet Anekwe, Dtymi Ngozi Ibe, Joe Grissaffi, Gregory Macgregor, Susan Nwokedi
Chet is an admirable actor. The first movie I saw him in was titled ‘Bianca’, after that movie, I knew it would take something as little as seeing his face on a poster to click download. Uche brings that thing to all her movies, she never, ever leaves it at home.
“Then they say America is the Land of dreams”
-Mike, in The Other Side
The movie opens with a scene that jabs you in the heart, a reminder of where we are inadequate, as we see an Ambulance move victims of a shooting, and a police officer professionally describing his findings to colleagues.
The subsequent scenes roll out like a question and answer session. Suspects are being interrogated by the Police, and each question asked, is answered by the continuation of the movie. This makes you feel like a part of the investigation team, the lawyer in me almost brought out my notepad sef. This mode d’emploi however, made me nervous. It is easy to lose the flow when movies take this approach, but not this one. Every single scene, question, answer, blended into the other.
Pregnant Natasha, (Uche Jombo) is shot at home, leaving her two children dead, resulting in the loss of the one she is carrying and she in a coma. We are led in the quest for finding the shooter. Mike her (ex) husband, (Chet Anekwe), Oge a woman he caught feelings for, and Steve, whose role in the movie I couldn’t quite define, but is a suspect because he is in some sort of zone with Oge. You know how there is the ‘you are like a brother to me zone’, ‘friends with benefit zone’ etc.
Mike’s friend tells him “You need to free yourself of all these baby drama”, the contemplative look on his face thereafter does well to brand him a suspect in the mind of the viewers.
Oge and Mike meet at a sports place, and If you like your sarcasm served hot, you would like the consolidation of the feelings catching part of Mike and Oge, when she meets him again at the Mechanic workshop where he works
“You didn’t tell me you work in a car shop”
“No, I just wake up in the morning, put on these dirty clothes and come here to sit under these cars”.
These two go on with their relationship, there is a lot of foolish laughter between them, that new-in-love kinda laughter where you just keep laughing even after it gets awkward. Natasha was having none of it, and this got me confused as to what their situation really was again; Divorced or Married with challenges?
We see her drive after Oge and Steve, to a restaurant and tells Oge in the most hilarious manner, of her investments to get a husband
“I went to Enugu, not Lagos or Abuja to get Mike”
and for emphasis
“Nne, abu m Onye ara I am a mad person”
I find this a salient contribution to discussions around living in Diaspora, especially the cliché coming home to find a spouse story, which even women are not exempt from.
The Chief of police is convinced that Mike shot his children and (ex) wife in other to be free of them and begin on a clean slate with Oge. This assumption is a bit typical, does it stem from years of being on the job? Racism?
The movie explores themes that make you think.
“Your own is just to embarrass a man in front of Oyinbo people” Mike grumbles in reference to one of her constant shaming, for not having enough money.
What makes a woman ill-treat, talk down at a man, yet flips the next moment to crave for the husband/good father figure? How fat is the line between bullying someone and pushing him to strive to attain more? How easy is letting go? How many people hold on for the wrong reasons?
The movie progresses with Mike revealing to Oge, the reason he can’t leave Natasha. This is a fine twist to the story, as we see Natasha placed under arrest on her hospital bed, for blackmail. This does well to build suspense, as it still does not exonerate Mike as a suspect, just builds up an extra case for investigation.
Police trouble is not what you want to enter, they will arrest everyone who even winked at you on the day the crime was committed. So we see Steve been picked up, since he is Oge’s buddy. I have to repeat again, that I did not understand his exact role to Oge. She excitedly tells him, in the beginning
“Trust me, you’ll like this guy”
And after Mike breaks up with her under duress, we see Steve acting the shoulder to lean on. There is no obvious romantic inclination between the two (unless I missed it when I went to change baby poop). Is Steve admiring Oge secretly, enough to kill the children and Natasha? If this is so, why doesn’t he compete for her love against Mike?
Murder weapon is found, and fingerprints reveal that neither Mike, Oge or Steve pulled the trigger. Lucrecia, a lady with several criminal records did, and the Police are convinced that with the bait of a discount on punishment, she would sing the name of the Mastermind behind the shooting plot.
The Mastermind is found and arrested, bringing to movie to an abrupt end, and this is what kindled the embers of my annoyance. It’s okay to draw a blank cheque end sometimes for viewers, but this leaves us parched, with only few drops left in our Coke bottle.
The story raised a lot of questions, giving us the answer to the shooting bit alone. Perhaps, it is longthroat wanting to know how they all fared after the arrest. On a random note, Apple is thrown in our face a lot, every one’s phone is Apple, the office computers are Apple. If you watch (and I strongly recommend that you do) and find why, please tell a sisteh.
All those other strong-strong criticisms, like errr, angle of elevation and depression of the Cameras, biko read the gurus.
I’m just an Akpu and Ofe-Oha lover (because again, the jollof gang do not know what they are missing), feeding her Nigerian movies addiction.
In other words, what do I know?