‘Man of God’ is a hastily shot movie that doesn’t live up to its premises
Release date: April 16, 2022
Location: Lagos, Nigeria.
Director: Bolanle Austen-Peters.
Cast: Akah Nnani, Osas Ighodaro, Atlanta Bridget Johnson, Patrick Doyle, Jude Chukwuka, Shawn Faqua, Dorcas Shola Fapson, Olamide Oworu, Eucharia Anunobi, Prince Nelson Enwerem, Mawuli Gavur and Ayo Mogaji.
The internet rejoiced at the news of netflix releasing another original Nigerian film after the flop of What Must Not Be Named (Chief Daddy 2) earlier this year.
From the studio that gave viewers the glamorous and sensational “Bling Lagosians” comes the latest production under the sleeves of Bolanle Austen Peters titled “The Man of God”.
The highly anticipated film, which featured the acting talents of many popular actors, was released on April 16.
When the trailer was released a few weeks ago, Nigerians were thrilled to see a new take on the story of the prodigal son, but after watching the movie, the reactions were mixed.
Disappointing is the least accurate word to describe how I felt watching “Man of God”. It was as if the perfect image I had of the film had fallen through.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the actors deliver bad dialogue, and noticed how each scene gave the impression that the producers were under pressure to meet the filming deadline.
At first we see a young boy called Samuel sitting in a church, obviously uninterested in the ongoing prayer session. So he goes out to play a game of ten-ten with the rest of his friends. The pastor notices this, follows him and scolds him after having dispersed the group.
The next scene shows the pastor beating Samuel’s hell with a whip. It turns out that the pastor is his father, who repeatedly warned him about his indifferent attitude towards church and religion.
Despite his mother’s pleas and his father’s warning, Samuel does it again and his father beats him. It was during his mother’s attempts at consolation that he swore to himself that one day he would run away from home.
Time jumps to several years later, and we see that Samuel has become what his father feared he would become. He is now a rebel who impersonates the Afro legend, Fela. We see him dancing on a stage with lots of girls, smoking and just screaming into the mic. After his performance, he goes out to meet a girl named Teju, who gives him some documents and a letter from her mother.
The next morning, we wake up to see Samuel saying goodbye to one of the dancers, Rekya, who is also his lover and roommate. When she leaves, he opens his mother’s letter, revealing that he hasn’t been home for three years.
While Teju walks to class, another character named Joy is introduced. The two ladies are best friends who frequent the same fellowship. One night after fraternity, Joy follows Teju to one of Samuel’s shows. Seeing Joy, her beauty struck Samuel and he flirted with her.
One day, Samuel reveals his interest in Joy to Teju, causing the girls’ friendship to hit rock bottom since Teju has a crush on Samuel. Initially refusing his advances, Joy eventually relents and begins dating him. Following a revelation from Pastor BJ, she later breaks up with him but gets back together after a loving word and a hug.
Due to Samuel’s academic failures, he was unable to graduate with Joy. This caused strain in their relationship because Joy went to another state for her NYSC, where she married a pastor called Zeku. This causes Samuel to fall into a deep state of depression and loneliness. Teju helped him get his life back on track and they got married.
In another time scene, we see Samuel living an almost perfect life; a choir minister and happily married to Teju. Out of the blue, Rekya calls, announcing her arrival and making plans for them to meet. During their meeting, Rekya advises Samuel to start his church so that he can start earning a lot of money as the church business becomes profitable.
Following her advice, Samuel pretends to hear God and establishes his church, called Vineyard of Love Ministries. Things were going well; the church was becoming popular and Samuel could afford the luxury of life. However, Joy’s return to Teju and Samuel’s life became a threat as Samuel still had feelings for her.
Samuel, with Rekya’s help, made plans for him and Joy to travel out of the country, but Teju caught them. Feeling betrayed and used, Teju presents incriminating evidence to the police, who were investigating her husband following several allegations.
Still struggling with the rejection of Joy, Rekya and the death of his mother, Samuel was arrested. The film ends with him returning home to his father and brother in tattered clothes.
The breakdown – the good
The cinematography is quite impressive, with lots of beautiful shots and enchanting settings. Kudos to the crew for presenting a realistic depiction of what Lagos looks like in “real life”.
The cast also did an impressive job, especially Akah, Osas, Atlanta, and Dorcas. Their portrayal of the characters in the film was outstanding and quite professional. It would be wrong not to appreciate the efforts of Akah and Dorcas, because they put their musical talents at the service of the film.
Despite its many flaws, the film also does a great job exploring themes like love, religion, and social vices, among many others. A notable mention would be its depiction of hypocritical pastors who abuse their power to commit despicable acts.
ALSO READ: Movie Review: Chief Daddy 2: Useless Sequel That Leaves Viewers Completely Confused And Angry
Finally, there are the amazing costumes that show you how to dress for a Sunday church service. So if you are having style issues on Sunday, please check out this movie.
Bad dialogue: Listening to the characters speak, I wondered if the screenplay had ever gone through an editor. Don’t get me wrong, some dialogue was great and the screenwriter did a good job, but some scenes made me cringe and want to turn off my laptop. For example, the scene where Samuel was flirting with Joy made me cry at how absurd it was.
Violation of the “Show, don’t tell” rule: Another flaw in the film was advancing the plot through the use of dialogue. While dialogues are a great way to speed up a plot, it becomes too much when, for every incident that occurs, viewers hear about it through a character’s conversation.
This unforgivable flaw can be compared to describing more than half of the film’s plot to a novice viewer. First, we see Joy marrying someone else with no reasonable explanation of how it happened except when Pastor BJ mentioned it. There’s also Rekya’s suggestion to Samuel to be a pastor with no prior events leading up to that decision or conversation.
Inconsistent scenes: If you found the above plot confusing, you’ll understand why we say the whole movie was confusing. The scenes looked like they were pulled from different movies, especially the time jump scenes. Many gaps exist in the film, leaving many unanswered questions in the minds of viewers.
Unrealistic periods: Although the movie doesn’t clearly state the year Samuel was in college, one can easily conclude that it was in the mid-2000s. The writers want us to think that things like smartphones and computers TVs didn’t exist at the time, but a flat screen TV did.
Horrible background music: Some scenes didn’t require background music, and even when it did, it overshadowed the dialogue, making it difficult to decipher what was being said. Current and future sound editors should learn a lesson from this.
5/10. Although it has many flaws, Man of God is a film that allows for self-reflection and helps to understand the importance of family.
“Man of God” streams exclusively on Netflix.
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