‘Anikulapo’ Review

‘Anikulapo’ Review: A Visually Stunning Film Stunted by the Inconsistency of its Storyline

Odu Ifa, a system of divination of the Yoruba people is Kunle Afolayan’s inspiration for his second project (Anikulapo),  in his Netflix deal to produce and premiere three diverse films: a historical drama, a folklore fantasy, and a character drama. While Kunle is known to go beyond for his productions, he takes his creativity to a bigger and bolder level in what is his most ambitious project yet.

‘Anikulapo’ Review

Anikulapo follows the story of Saro (Kunle Remi), a man seeking greener pasture in the Kingdom of Oyo, after a series of events led him to an affair with Arolake (Bimbo Ademoye), the king’s wife, he encounters his untimely death. When Akala, a mystical bird gives him life again, Saro goes on the run with Arolake, hoping they can start a life together.

Kunle has been compared to Tyler Perry, the Hollywood filmmaker with a controversial filmography and owner of the biggest film production studio in the United States. This comparison was birthed following Kunle’s reveal of his film village, the location in which this fantasy drama was filmed. A reasonable comparison in my opinion.

Since its announcement as, “Game of Thrones recreated in Nigeria but with a better representation of our culture” back in January, my anticipation for this film has grown. After seeing the film, I was buried in a feeling of disappointment and gratitude, a weird mix right? Well, I was disappointed because it couldn’t touch the helm of the character development and storytelling of Game of Thrones, but I was grateful because it was a beautiful film with an even more beautiful representation of our culture.

The adjective ‘beautiful’ seems to be recurring, but that’s what this film is. From its visuals and cinematography – kudos to Jonathan Kovel for delivering another cinematography masterpiece – to costume designs, set designs, cast performances, and music, the film never fails to impress.

Kent Edunjobi who had previously worked on the soundtrack for Citation, Swallow, and A Naija Christmas, delivers yet another fantastic musical lineup. The soundtrack of the film works beautifully with the storyline and elevates every scene.

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Another beautiful part of the film is its location settings, the use of a film village was perfect. The representation of the Oyo and Ojumo Kingdoms as two distinct communities is brilliant. The houses, trades, attires, and palaces, even the size, and scale of these Kingdoms are different.

Kunle Remi (A Naija Christmas) is a remarkable actor who delivered effortlessly, supported by Bimbo Ademoye (Breaded Life), and Sola Sobowale (Kings of Boys), both delivering some of their best work, the performance of the cast in this film is a force. Sola Sobowale‘s calm personality in this film is a much-needed change from the hot-headed characters she is known for playing, and she did justice to Awarun’s character.

The veterans in this film while having mostly cameos and small roles all gave thunderous performances, considering the roles most of them played is one they are all familiar with. While most of the cast is brilliant, this film still falls victim to the Kunle Afolayan breakout star syndrome with Eyiyemi Afolayan failing to match up with the energy of those surrounding her.

The aspect where this film falls short is in its storytelling, while the straightforward plot works for it, the inconsistency is its doom. Firstly, Saro and Arolake’s relationship was underdeveloped, and defining moments in it are ignored. The change in Saro’s character in the second half of the film was unjustified and ridiculous.

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Saro and Arolake wielded the power of life and death, and the film gave no consequences or repercussions to their actions. Why was the Akala bird letting all that happen? The total disregard for everything and everyone in the first half of the film when the second half started made it feel like two different films, another terrible decision.

In summary, this feels like a different film from the one the trailer promised, but it has its moments and so many beautiful parts that are worth your time. Don’t expect perfection, but keep your mind open.

Anikulapo Rating: 6.5/10

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