Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Movie Review: Oloture; A Missile Targeted At Sex Trafficking But Lost Its Direction

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Oloture directed by Kenneth Gyang is a body of work brought to reality by talented actors and a wonderful production team. The movie centers its theme on sex trafficking, how it operates, the mental, psychological effects and the struggles of life faced by a sect in the society. The movie takes place in Nigeria, Lagos specifically as we are taken on a journey.

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The movie centers on a young female journalist, Oloture/Ehi (Sharon Ooja), who goes under cover to expose a human trafficking ring. The protagonist, Oloture encounters a lot of ups and downs including the victims on this path. As she tries to help the exploited women who are into prostitution, she ends up being entangled in this web.

Right from the beginning, the movie paints the theme in a very colorful way with the array of ladies dressed in revealing clothes portraying themselves as prostitutes. The use of revealing outfits helped create the perfect picture of what the message of the movie is. The hairstyles were on point and also the characterization of each character.

We have to give it to the likes of Omawunmi, Omawunmi Dada and Omoni Oboli who literally stole the show from the protagonist in terms of perfect characterization. As the movie proceeds, we begin to anticipate seeing Alero (Omoni Oboli) in action because she was the ideal character for that role. She knocked the role of Alero off. Although Sharon Ooja did a good job with Oloture but with the depth of the persona of Oloture, it could have been better.

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The movie Oloture, indeed had that persistent image of the reoccurring theme, but had no depth or direction. From the start of the movie, we just see a young journalist pretending to be a prostitute. We do not know why and at no point was it revealed. We do not know her personal motivation for taking up such a dangerous mission. We just see her already involved.

Although the director tried to create a love story between Emeka (Blossom Chukwu) and Oloture (Sharon Ooja) but it just seemed unnecessary. Just too predictable, it felt like they wanted to create someone who was in love with the protagonist. Considering the weight of the message intended to be passed across that just seemed irrelevant.

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Speaking of the message, this was lost in the directorial approach of the entire movie. Considering how we were lost from the beginning, as a result of the movie just starting from the middle with no back story to help base what we are seeing. As the movie progresses, we begin to struggle to understand the underlining reason for the conflict of the entire movie.

The scene that would have helped answer this burning question- the rape scene, just seems to throw us into more chaos. The rape scene coming in at the point it did in the movie was just premature. The actions that followed thereafter left us more confused as to why it even happened in the first place. But we loved the flow from one scene to another, the coloration, seamless entry of scene by scene, the general cinematography was smooth.

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It’s as if the director and script writer are trying to paint all the pictures that relate to sex trafficking but forgot to provide a good bases for each action in itself. They lost track of the entire picture. The message though it was initially obvious, was lost in the process of transmission and communication. Characters like Chuks (Ikechukwu) was perfect, Peju (Beverly Osu) who didn’t utter a word but killed her character with her facial expressions, are good portrayals of the lifestyle and outcome of people in the world of human trafficking. But the effects that governs their actions which is supposed to come from the message, the theme of the movie, was lost in transit.

In terms of language, remember I said the movie killed it when it comes to portrayal of the characters. Words like Putana (whore), forte et speciale (special ones) helped hone in the intended message. But we can’t help but notice Linda’s (Omawunmi dada) Edo lan was not so good. It showed she is not so fluent in the language but we can say she tried.
Oh my the music and instrumentation of the movie was on point. No much lyrical songs just basically instrumentation. They used the right music for the right scenes. We were taken back in time when Oloture went to visit her mum for the first time, I really loved the music here because cultural representation was also achieved through this. The music were also instrumental in passing across the message and this was done well. Especially the contrast between the scenes where Oloture went to visit her mum the first time versus when she went to visit her mum after she was raped. The music was apt in connecting to our emotions.

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Final Thoughts

For a movie that lasted for 1 hour 36 minutes, Oloture the movie is a good movie. But it could have been an awesome movie, if there was a better arrangement of the script in general. Irrespective one can’t help but give kudos to the light shed on this particular aspect of the society where a lot of victims exist. Also the acting skills of the characters, the editorial aspect of the movie and the overall make up is commendable. As for the delivery, it was a bit shaky leaving us confused from beginning to end. The end that was supposed to bring us out of our confusion just plunged us deeper. If you want to see how Nigerian prostitutes live, you should really see the movie Oloture.

Photo Credit: Getty

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