Sunday 6 August 2017

Banana Island Ghost

Last year, I watched a comedy that scarred me and so I took a break from Nigerian comedies in cinemas, but I was curious about Banana Island Ghost so I decided to make an exception. 

I am wary about big budget Nollywood films, it often feels like they want to bamboozle me with spectacle and ignore STORY. For a story teller, this hurts.  BIG is big on spectacle quite alright, but the good News is it’s also big on story and performance.  
I was rolling my eyes ten minutes into the film feeling like they were trying to force me to laugh and then the accident happened and everything changed.
Patrick Diabuah as the ghost is a brilliant choice, even more brilliant is the choice to pair him with Chioma Omeruah (Chigurl). An unlikely pair who prove that opposites attract. Their acting is effortless, they both become the characters they play and as their bond grows, our love for them grows.
BIG tells the story of a ghost who is scared to go to heaven because he doesn’t have a soul mate, so convinces God to give him three days to fall in love. In the three days, he meets Ijeoma who will do anything to keep the banks from reclaiming her father’s property in Banana Island.
BB Sasore’s hard work is very evident. The drone shots are beautiful and he makes many other aesthetic choices.  The special effects made us all applaud in the hall. They were all very decent.
There are some plot gaps, naturally. Like the boyfriend who appears from nowhere, we know he’s there just for laughs but the laughs work so we don’t really mind. Or Ijeoma’s performance at the charity event, I thought someone would sign her to justify the event but it’s clearly just for the showdown at the end of the show. Again, the scene was worth it so we didn’t mind.
I’m particularly pleased by the choice of an upcoming actor as the lead. It is often my argument with distributors. I get the desire for star studded but while we need to make money, we also need to build an industry.  It’s heart breaking how much of a struggle it is to cast a fifty year old ‘baby boy’. The choices are very limited for an industry that is said to be the second largest in the world. Imagine if RMD hadn’t come back to acting. If we don’t invest in actors now, the next generation will have the same problems we’re having.
I remember some cinemas turned down Falling because we didn’t have enough ‘stars’. One of them would go on to cast Etomi in their own film a couple of years later. (Catch your shade?)
We’re all in this industry together and we must build it together so that our children may find it easier than we did, the same way the people who came before us paved the way for us now.
So BIG ups to BIG for choosing Patrick and congratulations Patrick for proving yourself worthy.
Banana Island Ghost feels like it was made with the primary intention of entertaining its audience; it succeeded. We left the hall feeling good.

The film is produced by Biola Alabi Media and directed by BB Sasore.

PS. If you think some Nigerian Policemen can be ridiculous, wait till you meet the DPO (Saidi Balogun) and his men.