Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever
White Waters ~2008
Story/ Screenplay – Felix Odion
Director – Izu Ojukwu
Rita Dominic – Norlah
OC Ukeje – Melvin
Joke Silva – Grandma
Hoom Suk – Banji
Tony Ofili Akpon – Coach Samson
Olajumoke Olatubosun – Dr Maria
Adamu Labaran – Coach Menor
Blessing Emmanuel – Bridget
B.S Abok – Ahmed
Fidelis Abdulrahman – Little Melvin
Jonah Gwamna – Musa
My Rating – 95%
Academically Melvin is behind at school. He is 11 years old and his brother who is 4 years his junior is surpassing him. His stepfather Emeka does not wasn’t to deal with him and so implores his mother to send him away. To save her marriage to Emeka and rid her of the unpleasant memories of Melvin’s father Desmond she sends Melvin to go and live with his grandmother.
Melvin and his grandmother grow to be very close. Theu live alone and take together and care of each other. Grandma showers Melvin with care, attention and unconditional love and vice versa. It is a relationship different to the one he experienced with is mother where the love appeared to be conditional upon him excelling in school and in turn being accepted by her husband.
Melvin’s grandma suffers with chronic asthma and her frequent attacks mean that he is forever racing up and down to collect her medicines. It is during this time that his formidable running speed is spotted and he is asked to join the state track team. For the first time in his life Melvin is valued and he gains the attention of Norlah a beauty on the track team.
Melvin’s mother’s love for him appears to be conditional. She tells grandma, “Should I give up my marriage because of him?” Hell YEH you should. He is your child. YOU bore him. Grandma makes a good point when she tells her daughter that parents have children that are,
“Deaf, blind dumb and autistic and they do not abandon them. They show them love.”
Round of applause for grandma. She spoke well.
In this movie we see the importance of patience, nurturing and supporting a child. As the saying goes, “not all fingers are created equal.” Melvin was an indiviaual, because he was not as gifted academically as his brother, does that make him a less worthy candidate to love? We see that he is talented but in a different way, athletically. He is so talented as a sprinter that is is he that is sought out to represent the state. When his grandma was patient with him he became more comfortable within himself and was able to excel.
The goldfish dying was symbolic of the evaporation of the presence of loneliness in Melvin’s life. The death happens around the time of Melvin’s deepening friendship with Norlah and on the same day that they share their first kiss against the backdrop of the beautiful and formidable waterfalls. I didn’t like the fact that when Norlah shares her first kiss with Banji as the sun sets the backdrop was just as magical. I felt that it dhould have been less so so as to cheapen their relationship.
We see how Melvin’s relationship with Norlah gives him motivation and a greater selnse of self esteem and confidence. As their relationship grows he is visibly happier and stops making all the mistakes he previously made. From this we can see that patience, love and understanding can make all the difference in a person’s character. His mother didn’t take the time out to put in these things to nurture him into the man that he does become.
I thought OC Ukeje played the role of Melvin excellently. He completely immersed himself in the character. I loved his show of vulnerability. It felt so real. As a viewer I was totally feeling for Melvin. It was heartbreaking to see him not only rejected by his mother and step father, but then to be bullied by the boys on the track team. I badly wanted him to get with Norlah to ease his loneliness and make up for all that he had been through. So you can imagine my horror when they got closer and then are wrenched apart through Banji’s doing.
OC Ukeje nailed his role and Melvin the rejected loner with a big heart. Why have I not seen this guy in anything since? Casting directors should be killing themselves to cast him in their movies. Unbeliveable!
We all know she is a great actress but I thought she was miscast for this role. She did not look one bit like a professional athlete to me. There was not enough muscle tone on her. They should have either trained her up or got someone else to play the role.
Another thing I noticed was the heavy make up all the time, granted it was very natural but it took away from the realism. How are you going to have been attacked the night before and then turn up to training the next day with mascara, foundation, lipstick and eyeshadow. Who goes to an intense training session where you know you will be sweating heavily, with a face full of make up? They tried to show that she has been attacked with the tiny plaster at the corner of her mouth. Na. It wasn’t enough.
The tension was electrifying when Rita notices the picture she took of Melvin on the night she was attacked on her dresser. Melvin is unaware that anything is wrong and Rita remainds silent, the shock and bewilderment all over her face. The music is very effective in this scene at heightening the drama of the situation withough being overbearing or taking away from Norlah’s silent stance.
Rita loves saying BLOODY I’ve noticed. I wonder if they wrote those lines in for her or she just adds the bloody’s herself!
I wondered why Norlah chose not to say anything about the picture of the dresser and continued to be just as friendly to Melvin without reservation. Was it because she simply dismisses from her mind that it could be him? Or could it be that she suspects that he could be involved in the attack but chooses to overlook it because she realises that he has issues and desperately wants to help him. Perhaps his withdrawn and slightly weird behaviour intrigues her as she wants to get close to him all the time even when he is seemingly paying her no mind.
The cinematography was beautiful. You could see that every scene was carefully crafted. The way this movie is shot, even a decrepit village has an attractive quality to it. The waterfalls, sunsets, and sunrises were captured and serve to add to the magical quality of the movie. The movie was shot in the mountains surrounding the waterfall Farin Ruwa, in Nassarawa State of Nigeria. Some of the shots were absolutely breath taking. This movie will make you marvel at why you haven’t taken a trip there already, or like me never even heard of the place before.
I thought the soundtrack was beautiful and simple. The music played at the appropriate times and was consistent throughout… perfect.
My Favourite Scene
The scene where Melvin leaves his mother to go and live with his Grandma is very poignant. The camera pans in on Melvin’s face and his eyes are wide and tear filled, we hear the strumming of a guitar while Melvin and his grandmother walk in the rain under an umbrella that shields them both. I thought the rain was representative of his family and the suffering he endured and the umbrella representative of his grandmother who had come to act as protector. It is an emotional scene. Sad because a boy has being rejected by his mother but joyous because we know that he will be happier with his grandmother.
How did Melvin get that picture on his dresser?
Why would the team let him back on when it seemed that he was the attacker? That would not have been fair to Norlah, not to mention traumatic.
At the end Norlah had broken her leg but why is she managing to jump up and down like a Kangaroo when Melvin wins at the sports festival?
I would 100 percent recommend this movie. It was a sports story which in itself is not the typical Nollywood story. We learn something battling adversity and coming out on top. We learn how important love is in a person’s life. The backdrop was breathtaking, it was magical, and it was beautiful. The acting was great, the story executed well. THUMBS UP