Oh No, Another Nollywood Movie??

Pascal Amanfo shows potential, but “Naked Faces” ends up being just another Nollywood movie. Amanfo’s narrating and erratic camera work misses the mark most times, but at certain points, shows brilliance. For instance, the aerial shot from the tree Leslie (Ecow Smith Asante) and Frank (Majid Michel) sit under, glows beautifully. What seems like a good movie (despite an overbearing narrator), turns formulaic quickly due to commonly used Nollywood shticks, like surprised expressions, overly dramatic slow playing music, and most notably, someone being hospitalized. The familiar prison visit showing two actors facing each other in horizontal fashion, within a dark, blackened room, as seen in Heart of Men, also gets recycled.

All realism is lost, when during a plot twist, Leslie (Mama’s boy) turns “Gangsta” and shoots his two friends; a distinct opposing action of his character type. Also, the viewer’s never made aware of from where Leslie gets a gun; an error in screen writing. Two interesting aspects of Amanfo’s script, is Mabel (Martha Ankomah) emotionally blackmailing Max (Prince David Osei) so he’ll marry her, and Catherine Cole (Kalsum Sinare) [“She who must be obeyed”] implicating a Judge (Vivianne Achor) in a bribery scheme. Catherine being verbally crucified for sleeping with younger men is also unbelievable, since it’s quite common, particularly so with “Suga Mommas”. Another flaw in Pascal’s script, is the “killing off” of the film’s most notable character; the featured actor(s) of a film needn’t die (and often don’t) but stay and carry the movie.

Pascal gives each character a unique name/title. Majid Michael is Frank Boateng, “The Desperado”. Ecow Smith Asante is Leslie Cole, “Mummy’s Boy”. Prince David Osei is Max Boadu, “Mr Smooth”. Kalsum Sinare is Madam Catherine Cole, “She who must be obeyed”. And Martha Ankomah is Mabel Ashitey, “The Nag”. The film features lush wardrobe (Cynthia Lemdy & Azando Erick), colorful and extravagant sets (Lucas Filmx & Ernest Agor), and cleverly crafted opening credits and title artwork.

Key performances by Martha Ankomah and Ecow Smith Asante give the film its pop. Leslie’s subtle nuances and odd smirks are amusing. Mabel nearly breaking her toe from angrily kicking a folding chair, while damn near biting Catherine’s face off, is a highlight. And of course, Leslie coming to speak to his mother wearing a T-shirt stating “I Heart Porn I Masturbate”, is just LOL. This scene is the film’s intermission, which may have worked better to include Frank’s reappearance from hiding, after Leslie and Catherine leaves the bedroom, as a suspenseful cliffhanger.

Amanfo shows poise, prominence, and a bit of poetry. But unfortunately, Naked Faces ends up being just another Nollywood movie. If Pascal’s next film (Trinity) turns out this way, all mayn’t fare very well for the up and coming Nigerian cross-cultural director.

SCORE: 1 1/2 of 4 stars

One Response to “Oh No, Another Nollywood Movie??”
  1. I see where you are coming from with the points that you have made but I still think its better than the Nollywood average movie.

    The scene that made me laugh was Kalsum in the ugly table cloth rug top talking bout, “dya like ma top.” eeeeew it was huuugly!

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