Originally uploaded by NollywoodForever
The Shepherd (2008)
Story/ Screenplay – Sylvester Madu
Director – Nonso Ekene Okonkwo
Jim Iyke – Raymond
Tonto Dikeh – Gina
Mercy Johnson – Jessica
Majid Michel/Michael – David
Ngozi Ezeonu – Raymond’s mother
Biola Ige – Anita
Emeka Okoye – Musa
Benson Okonkwo – Actor
Kenneth Modo – Photo Journalist
Junior Pope – Sammy
My Rating: 35%
Gina believes that she has met her prince charming, a film director. It seems like her dreams are about to come true, as not only does he make her a huge movie star but he marries her too. Little does she know that her Prince Charming is a brutal maniac that is about to make her life a living hell.
Jim Iyke plays his usual bad boy with a swagger wannabe American. He has just come from studying at New York Film School and wants to elevate Nollywood above it’s “mediocrity.” As is customary when coming from America one must have no manners, swear freely in front of your mother, abuse drugs and think themselves above everybody else. *sarcasm intended* His mother does not care for the movie business and is more concerned with him settling down with a nice girl.
Gina meets Raymond at the diner where she works. He steps in to defend her when a customer who refused to pay his bill slaps her. He then advises her to come and audition for a movie. He sees that she has great potential, casts her and nurtures her into a full-fledged star. At the same time he also declares his love for her and proposes.
It seems like Raymond has fallen in love with Gina but it soon becomes apparent that his concern lays more with her money making potential than anything else. Gina gives Raymond all her wages and starts getting beaten up by him too.
She falls pregnant twice and is forced into an abortion the first time.
Raymond tells his wife on hearing about her pregnancy,
“Abort it… there is no space for all that.”
He then tries to convince her to have an abortion by telling her,
“It’s called family planning. It’s no big deal. Every girl, an average of every girl that’s African… Fuck it, the whole world the ages of 11-25 has committed abortion and if they say no, let them come and meet me… Just open your legs, five minutes and it is over.”
The second pregnancy he beats out of her and the third she manages to keep by running to her mother in laws house until she gives birth.
Mercy Johnson appears in part 2 as a seductress Jessica in a club toilet. She and Jim unite over their fondness for coke. It seemed strange how the drug abuse was only made note of in the middle of part 2. Again the depiction of cocaine users was ridiculous. We see Jessica snorting coke haphazardly of the bonnet of her car and the powder smeared all over her face. Likewise we see Raymond in a toilet and he starts groaning as if he is high before the cocaine has even hit his bloodstream. NONSENSE. There is powder all over his face and jacket. Now what cokehead is going to be wasting all that powder?
If Nollywood producers want to portray drug abuse then they need to do research. If actors want to be credible then they too should do research. I mean how hard is it to find out how people take coke and how it makes them react? I’m sure this kind of thing can even be found on YouTube, even watch a Hollywood movie to find out. The whole drug thing was just so ridiculous and comical.
The dialogue was wack a lot of the time. They had Raymond dropping Jessica home after the night at the club and both of them telling one another, “I love you.” One word. NON-SENSE.
Majid Michael barely appears in this movie, so I don’t even know why he was on the front cover with a gun to his head. That never happened in the movie (unless there is a continuation) His performance as David, one of Gina’s best friends was as good as it could be in this flop of a film. He was convincing in that it seemed that he really cared about Gina and they had a deep connection in their non verbal body language.
His wife on the other hand was another story. Anita played by Biola Ige was just dreadful. This was the first time I have seen her in a movie and hopefully the last. She was just wooden and bore no emotion. She was supposed to be Gina’s best friend and it just didn’t translate. There was no connection between her and Gina or her and her husband. OH and what was that FAKE TATTOO doing scratched across the top of her breasts? It looked awfully tacky. She was pretty though and kinda looked like Jackie Appiah in certain shots.
Tonto Dikeh and Ngozi Ezeonu, who played Raymond’s mother were the standouts in this horrible movie. Tonto nailed her scenes for most part and played her part as the battered wife well, especially the crying scenes which she pulled off effortlessly. She appeared to be chunkier than she normally is and actually looked pregnant to me. Ngozi’s performance was flawless considering what she was working with. I normally like Jim but I have seen this character too many times now and I don’t think it was done particularly well this time.
Overall I would not recommend this film as the storyline wasn’t properly thought out. The characters were not well developed and the orchestral music they kept playing over dialogue was annoying and overbearing. This continued throughout the film! At one point in the beginning they had two lots of music overlapping each other AND dialogue. The story did not end either. All the ends were left open, not much made sense and the scene depicted on the front cover did not even happen which leads me to believe there must be more, which of course I will NOT be watching.
Another annoying point to add is that Mercy Johnson was not even listed in the credits of part 1 or 2. Half the names in the credits are prefixed with the letter E, for what reason I don’t know and the font was hella hard to read!