Review of London Premiere of Toyin Moore’s Captivated
The movie Captivated premiered at the Lighthouse on Friday 4th September 2015. Prominent on the red carpet were members of the cast and crew including Toyin Moore, Chiedu Nwanze, Ekenne Francis Nweke, Sesan Fakoya, Dapo Oloja, Ken Smart, Roseline Sanni Ajose, Malcolm Benson, Kevwe Ogunje, Mayowa Oluyede, Lydia Olet. The red carpet was also graced by representatives of the Nigerian High Commission led by the Acting High Commissioner HE Olukunle Akindele Bamgbose . Members of the Nollywood UK including Ruke Amata, Fred Aseromah, Nonso Nwaiwu, Florence Blaster Okonkwo were also amongst those on the red carpet as well as members of the public.
The event The Event was hosted by Producer and host Evelyn Obahor and talented Actor and MC Kevwe Ogunje and they did an amazing job kicking it off and warming up the audience before the movie. The premiere also featured performances from different artistes including Aremu and Joy.
Storyline: Captivated is a movie about a quest for true love. Having been captive by the past, Elizabeth’s searches for freedom after a life of hurt and disappointment. Rose is a beautiful young woman, who through no fault of hers is caught up in a world of pain disappointment and ultimate discovery of true Love. According to the synopsis of the movie as published, it is a story steeped in our rich African culture with a modern twist. The movie is woven around promises and betrayals. The big question the movie tried to address is what do you do when all hope is lost?
In my view, unlike most Nollywood movies I have seen recently, the storyline is not wholly based on a daily occurrence and its own way is unique.
Let me start from the positives. Some real life issues were highlighted in the movie. The passion and love of a husband for his wife to the extent that he leaves his religion of Christianity to follow her traditional religion and even impacting that to the children, a praying mother, frustration and battering of a family after the death of one that is loved etc and to me those were good. Also parts of the storyline were humorous and kept the audience laughing.
Having said that, I however expected a much different storyline bearing in mind the title of the movie. I kept asking myself throughout the movie what is there to captivate the audience or where is the captivation in the movie? In my own view, the betrayal, the loss of income and the various things that happened to the family were not portrayed as being “CAPTIVATED”. The only scene that was worthy of the title of the movie was the end where the disappointed Rose who was heartbroken met a man and both the man and girl could not say anything and were just bewildered.
Also, I was concerned that the movie had scenes of domestic violence to both wife and children. Like I always say, when telling a story, the story has to be realistic. In the movie, the husband committing the domestic violence was a policeman and even though mention was made that the police would not do anything (which in my view in the current UK) is not really true, the violence especially on the children was played down in the movie.
I know that the storyline was based on the fact that what happened to Rose and her mum in the movie was as a result of fact that they did not deal with the violence, but even if it was in form of a soliloquy, the option of going to child support or Social service should have been added. If I was the script writer, I would have included a scene where Rose was discussing the option with her boyfriend and possibly showing how it is considered a taboo in African context to take your father to the authorities. That way the options of help would have been considered.
One major thing that was important and not included in the movie was sub titles. I sat next to a lady from an African country and she got lost where Yoruba was being spoken. Even myself a Yoruba man, I almost got lost with some of the konk Yoruba being spoken. The audience was vast and in such a movie, everyone should have been included.
Cast: The movie boasted of loads of new talent in the making. I give kudos to the Director for casting new names some with potential to make waves in the Nollywood industry. The cast and crew included Ken Smart, Toyin Moore, Roseline Sanni-Ajose, Funmi Ogidan-Bello, Cordelia Emeh, Malcolm Benson, Kevwe Ogunje, Victoria Abraham, Doyin Amodu, Jedidah David, Achieng Tett, Greg Ojo, Rich Daniel, Oladapo Oloja, Yolanda Sanda, Florence Odaru, Chiedu Nwanze, Ekene Francis Nweke, Mayowa Oluyede, Sesan Fakoya and many more.
The movie was written by Lydia Tet Olet. The movie was produced and directed by Toyin Moore. The Executive Producers were Toyin Moore, Ken Smart and Lydia Olet and the movie was powered by MS Estates.
Let me start with the new actors and actresses. Most of them were given minor roles as supporting actors so one could not see much of them enough to assess them properly. However, I believe some of them have potential if given the right opportunity and direction. I would like to use this medium to ask Nollywood UK to seek out these new talents and get them involved as the industry continues to evolve. Some of the cast just delivered their lines without the passion of the role, but I am so willing to forgive them as this is their first attempt at such a big stage.
I am very meticulous and fastidious do I had issues with some of the lead characters and diction. This is an evolving industry and if we are to grow, we need to perfect little bits. If the movie is in pidgin English, the characters especially lead characters should spend time in perfecting the language, if it is in English, the least I expect is proper diction and pronunciation of words. Similarly if native languages like Yoruba and Ibo are to be used, the cast need to be vast and speak the language properly. In this movie, I give credit to the cast that threw in Yoruba phrases and proverbs as they nailed it. Diction perfect wordings beyond what even I as a Yoruba reviewer would have done.
Having said that let me pick 4 major characters and as veterans now in the industry, I would be a bit brutal but honest. For Toyin Moore, I must give her credit for being able to adapt to different roles. Added to the fact that she directed the movie, overall, she did what I expected of her and she continues to evolve and grow. However, I cannot give her 100% in this movie as there were some scenes I thought she might have been tired or overwhelmed with the load of work (that is my own opinion) that she did not fully deliver. I think if one is going to be a Director and Producer, they should not take the lead as the load would be too much and then again can you Direct yourself as you would others? Toyin keep doing what you do. You are a natural and one day who knows you might be in one of the other “woods”.
Ken Smart. Directors are beginning to see your strengths and cast you accordingly. To me you did justice to the role you were given. However, as a critic and in my view, I think you need to tone down just a bit sometimes. You are a natural bubbly person and get excited easily and this is reflecting in your characters and sometimes, I see you get excited and overplay your role. You are naturally talented and would go places, but just be yourself and don’t get excited. You are a natural and have a future in the industry, but a word of advice, don’t jump into producing or directing till you have perfected your act and know the industry well. Thought to add that. Well done Ken.
Roseline when I watched a previous movie you were in, we disagreed over my comments largely about you but in this movie, I watched you with all intensity. For most of the movie, I asked myself if this was the same Roseline. You were calm and approached the role with the professionalism it deserved. There was a scene that caught my attention and I was waiting to see if you would light the cigarette and actually smoke. Without telling the audience what happened (go and watch the movie when it is released), you nailed that part and most of the scenes in which you were. To me, this was much better and the role suited you and I can confidently cast you in a role in a movie should I audition for one. Well done. However, I can confidently cast you in a role in a movie should I audition for one. Well done. However, you still have some work to do and I would encourage you to watch those you look at as idols, learn from them, perfect your skill and your name would be on the annals of history. You have so much potential, harness and release them. Let your next role so blow the minds of people that they ask questions.
Kevwe Ogunje, you asked me to be blunt and of course I would be. Simply put, I think you played the role you were asked to play as best as you could. I Would not have done any much better myself. However, I have seen you in more tried roles and I don’t think you were stretched to your potential in this movie. You are so natural that you have even gone into been a presenter and MC so I would like in future to see you in more challenging roles as you seem to be very good at what you do. I have nothing more to say.
I would not do this part of the review justice without mentioning Dapo Oloja. This is the 2nd consecutive movie I am seeing him. In this film, he played a bigger role, Dapo is naturally a cheerful person always laughing so a large part of the movie played to his strengths. There were obvious flaws. Dapo is Yoruba and played an Ibo role. In my opinion, he did not act as an Ibo man not in the accent or the ethos of an Ibo man. Dapo was just himself and one thing I could see behind the acting was that he enjoyed himself. Dapo, there are a few issues, but if you deal with them, there is potential in you. I would advise you to take away a script and consult. You are popular. People like Alfred of Nollywood or Obi Emenloye would have given a few tips on being an Ibo Prince but all in all I commend you for giving it a try.
To the entire cast and crew, I say a big kudos as you all made an effort and the production with your help was a success.
Picture Quality: The picture quality was for most parts of the movie of a good not excellent standard, but I noticed delays in between scenes in some cases. I did not notice any blurred scenes or scenes out of the frame (and I stand to be corrected). This is good but the general picture quality can be improved on.
Sound Quality: Whilst I rated the picture quality as being good, unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the sound quality. There were buzzy sounds that could have been edited post production. I understand that scenes shot outside should look real with evidence of things happening around, but where it causes buzzes in the sound quality, I have an issue.
Also in some scenes, I could hardly hear what the actors were saying hence follow the trend. One typical example was in the office of MS Estates. I missed out on the special services being offered and also most of what Mayowa was saying apart from his US trip. It is funny to note that in the same office, I could hear the Secretary clearly even though there was some interference with the sound. I put all this to post production or to the sound engineer (if there was one). It is these little things that make or break a movie.
Overall performance: Generally, in spite of the issues that I have raised, I think the movie was a good one overall. There were comic parts to the movie that kept the audience laughing. I think the characters showed commitment and in spite of all the issues raised gave their best to make the movie work out.
I had an issue with the corporate adverts in the movie. While that may have been contractual there was no natural acting in the scenes where the companies were profiled. It was as if lines were being read. If a company is to be profiled in a movie, it is a movie and whoever is in it should act and convince the audience like any other actor. This is becoming a norm in the Nollywood industry that sponsors of a movie ask for a scene in the movie to profile their businesses (and while there is nothing wrong with that), it should be a part of the bigger picture, the movie. The same was the case with the scene profiling Oloja.com. The other way around it is to take an advert before an after the movie that profile the company. To me while people may miss the profile in the movie and think they are made up names, one cannot miss the advert before and after the movie.
Having said all that, the question remains if I would recommend this movie. As a reviewer and critic, although I have mentioned some of my concerns, I would definitely recommend this movie.
Watch the trailer: