Holy City

Holy City

Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever

Holy City
Story, Screenplay and Direction – Ilochi Olisaemeka

Starring:
Jim Iyke – Haruna
Oge Okoye – Angela
Mike Ezuruonye – Chibuzor
Emeka Amakeze – Ndubuisi
Biola Ige – Nneka
Chiendu Oga – Johnson
Oyin Omar – Ibrahim
Oniah Francis – Papa Haruna
Prince Nwafor – Eze
Malechi Chukwudebe – Mark Zero
Jonathan Gana Gana – Chief
Chidi Chijioke – Boss
Augustine Okeke – Ichie
Elochukwu Obinna – Landlord
Emmanuel Obi – Abubakar
Queency Asogwa – Abu’s wife
Chinedu Odinachi – Driver
Gabriel Obi – Vendor

Themes Explored:
Religious Hypocrisy
Loyalty
Islam
Christianity
Jealousy

My Rating: 81%

Angela is betrothed to Chibuzor, however Haruna’s constant presence around Angela becomes a burning issue with Chibuzor. The relationship between the two is innocent. Haruna was friends with both Angela and her friend Nneka in secondary school; however a prank gone wrong ended in Haruna getting expelled from secondary school. He goes from and excellent student with a promising future from a wealthy background to a school drop out serving suya in a restaurant to fund his future studies. It is a turnaround indeed.

Feeling extreme culpability for the state of Haruna’s present lowliness Angela and Nneka join heads to make amends for their past actions, lavishing Haruna with gifts and attention in a bid to assuage guilt. In a fit of jealousy Chibuzor warns Haruna to stay away from Angela and so the battle begins. The stakes ever so more clearly defined as Haruna is a Muslim and Angela is a Christian. The backdrop is 2006 and religious war is taking place in the North where Muslims are killing Christians. In the East where the story takes place reprisal attacks begin.

*************SPOILERS*************

Jim Iyke plays Haruna a Muslim, I assume he is meant to be Hausa, but the realness of the character is lost by the fact that he is an obvious Igbo and wearing robes and injecting “Walahi” into every other sentence while rocking a strong igbotic accent does not do much to convince the viewer that he is in fact a Hausa or a Muslim at all. The film would have been better served to get a true Hausa to play this role or at least some one who could roll with the accent convincingly. Apart from this flaw he played his role well with the understatement that such a character needed.

I think the girl that played Nneka was Biola Ige, (please correct me if I am wrong) the same girl that was appalling in The Shepherd. I can’t be 100% sure as a surname was not attributed to her in the credits. Anyhow if you were expecting any growth… DON’T she was just as bad in this movie. Thankfully she did not feature enough to spoil the whole thing.

Emeka Amakeze is brilliant as Haruna’s Christian friend and sidekick. He convincingly shows shock and bewilderment and we feel it deeply as a man is killed in front of him. After the killing he walks whilst mulling over the series of events that have taken place before him. He breaks down crying showing a subtle display of emotions that is more heartfelt that the dramatic overstated play of emotions that so often characterises Nollywood films.

This scene is the turning point in the movie and the point at which one begins to truly question the sense in killing in the name of religion. We see in Ndubuisi’s display of emotion that all men are essentially the same regardless of religion. We all have the same feelings, fears, hopes and dreams. We see men who were once as close as brothers and who played football together on a pitch, where they stood equally and where there were no differences forcefully divided by religion and occurrences that happened far away from them.

In the end the police are the heroes. This made me chuckle. I wondered how true to life this scenario could be? Call me cynical but I just could not see that happening myself.

I would definitely recommend this movie. The soundtrack was on point, melancholy and very similar to the mosque call and so tied in perfectly with the tone of the movie. My only gripe would be that sometimes dialogue was sometimes too low and could not be heard. This was always at crucial moments, and you know at crucial moments you don’t want to be rewinding and fiddling with the volume button!

The cast in general were a great bunch and worked well together. The movie was enjoyable to watch and had a bold and powerful message. We are all one regardless of religious affiliation/non affiliation or superficial labels that have been placed on us, often by birth. It emphasises the pointlessness in religious warfare, and the hypocrisy involved. There is a nice twist and at the end justice is served, and loyalty takes precedence over blind and discriminate faith.

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9 responses to “Holy City

  1. Haven’t seen it but will. Your review is quite encouraging. I judge all your reviews by the ratings of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN which is 88%(seems like the highest so far ). One observation though about the police business. It is the perogative of a writer to create whatever situation his story requires to move forward. We see “chuckle” worthy portrayals of other nations too in their films. What if Jim Ike’s xter put on a body suit and a cape every night to “save the world”?

  2. nollywoodforever

    LMAO@ Jim Iyke in a cape… Yeah I can see that… That would really make me laugh…

    Of course everything in a movie will not make sense to me… It is not my vision, so I can only comment on things the way I see them…

    Distance Between was so good because of the way it was shot, the story and the actors involved… It has the best rating in recent times although I aslo rated Before The Vow, Emergency Wedding and One Dollar highly too…

  3. Your decision to remain anonymous is understandable considering the nature of what you do. I have had a dream to win an Oscar since 2001 when i joined the Nigerian Film Industry as a Production Assistant. This dream has been kept alive, but when i came across the biography of Roberto Rodriguez, saw City of God; a low budget movie that was shot in Brazil bagging nine Academy Award nominations; i’m sure that if not for Lord of The Rings, it would have bagged the best cinematography, best picture, best original screenplay and best directing, that same dream blossomed.

    When i saw Tsotsi, return to Africa from Academy Awards with the Best Foreign Language film award, when i saw Danny Boyle smile and dance on the podium at the last Academy awards. Need i mention the success of Slumdog Millionaires? All these were dreams until i saw your rating of Holy City. Then i realized that that dream, my dream has become a reality that will soon come to fulfillment.

    If i could achieve this in seven days with a budget of 2.4 million Naira, what will happen if i have two months, and a budget of……….?

    Your criticism
    Sis, it’s only a fool that will contest all the flaws you pointed out in Holy City and all the works you have analyzed so far. You are very good at what you are doing. Thumbs up! I never expected to be ranked that far considering the number of films and the big names in the Nigeria Film Industry, and to be just seven percent away from the work of Izu Ojukwu; a master of the art, is a big boost to my fledgling career as a movie director.

    I would have had a fast food joint around your district deliver a delicious Okro soup and Fufu, (my favourite) to your doorstep this afternoon so that you can celebrate with me.

    God bless you.

  4. I cant belive u gave dis movie 81% cos its the dumbest movie ever….lol

  5. nollywoodforever

    @Ilochi Thank you!
    City of God was THE BEST!!! I live that movie! In fact I was into brazilian movies before Nollywood. BTWMy favourite is egusi so bear that in mind when you start thinking about Okro again.

    @Debbie. You din’t like it huh? What didn’t you like?

  6. Thats a problem I always hav with nollywood,they hardly translate the northern characters well-with the expectn of Joe Adekwagh (God rest his soul)…
    9ice post….

  7. Nolly, I have not seen this movie….But let me go read and come back.

  8. Nolly I am happy with your review so far. You know I trust you babe. Please see the movie that I described to you it is also quite good. I will see if I can find this movie right now and watch it…

  9. nollywoodforever

    S i have seen some of the ones u mentioned… i will peel my eyes for the rest.

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