I do not watch much of Nollywood movies except for highly recommended ones like the Kunle
Afolayan films and other blockbusters. Then I saw King of Boys. I had gone to the cinema to see it because the trailer was riveting. While I was hooked by the trailer, I still did not expect anything extraordinary…it is a Nollywood movie after all. But I was getting set up for a great surprise; to say that I was stunned is putting it lightly. I had finally found the intrigue I had been seeking in a Nollywood movie.
I must warn that there are major spoilers ahead.
The movie touched on the Nigerian political scene or if I may say, politics in general. It exposed all the underhandedness, thuggery, corruption, murder and conspiracy that goes into leadership and governance.
This three-hour creative work of genius opened with a party scene of Alhaja Eniola Salami. The party started like other high-class “owanbe” in Nigeria till Eniola killed a man with a hammer and in the same breath, asked her boys if they had eaten. The scene introduced us to the kind of woman Eniola is, cheerful but terrifying. Then as the movie developed, we found out she was the King of Boys. She might be admired for the power she commanded and how she was able to navigate the violent world of the boys. But it becomes very clear that there is more than meets the eyes. Soon enough, we see a woman overwhelmed with battles from all sides; from the political leaders and Makanaki, one of her subordinates, who felt he had a right to the throne as King.
Eniola was interested in a political appointment, which was only fair, considering all the underhanded jobs she had done to get the leaders into power. But while the powers that be found her useful in the dark, they seemed to want to avoid her during the day. Her reputation, they said and so, she was sidelined. Being a powerful and dangerous woman, she thought to use force but having reconsidered, employed diplomacy. However, at that point, it was too late. The powers that be were already in cahoots with Makanaki to bring her to her knees.
The movie was largely based on a walled-in Eniola trying to find her way out a web of conspiracies and occasional flashback at her inhumane ascension to the throne. She lost her revered daughter and a loved but spoilt son to the battle. At the point where it seemed like all was lost, she regained her freedom and maintained her position as King of Boys all the way from Brooklyn, New York.
While the movie was excellently written, what makes the movie stand out is the interpretation of the multi-dimensional characters by the ensemble cast. It was clear that Kemi Adetiba inspired every actor to bring in their A game and Kemi, in turn, beautifully developed each person’s character and brought out the best in them.
Sola Sobowale is a legend and a legend she remains. Her character inspired different reactions from the viewers; admiration, fear, then pity. For some reason, towards the end, you find yourself rooting for her and wanting her to win; even after all cruel acts she had carried out.
This was further made clear by a younger Eniola, played by Toni Tones. Toni Tones definitely lived up to Eniola junior. Her character helped us understand who Eniola is and how she rose from nothing to “something” by less than admirable ways.
Adesuwa Etomi, who played her daughter, left the good girl persona we all know her to act to a good girl on the surface but her mother’s right hand in reality. She butted heads with her brother because she was adopted but considered an actual daughter by Eniola while he – deservedly, I must say – was sidelined.
Two other actors who stood out for me were Makanaki
(played by Reminisce) and Odogwu (played by Ill Bliss). They are in actual sense, rappers and this was their first roles and they “killed” it for lack of a better word. They were both great and delivered their characters excellently. Makanaki is that villain you hate to love, because while you hated what he was doing, he did it so well, he became lovable. And Odogwu just seamlessly fit into his role of a man who went with the highest bidder.
Of course, Mr. Gobir; the man we all want to be but that kind of perfection eludes us. Brilliantly played by Paul Gambo, he was a man whose wife was seriously battling a life-threatening disease and he needed money for medical treatment but he refused to compromise his integrity by not accepting a bribe.
The fact that this movie was almost 3 hours long and we all stayed glued to our seats for it shows that it was beyond the norms. It was a very ambitious movie from Kemi Adetiba that paid off. However, I feel like the movie could still have been pulled off in 2 hours because there were scenes that could have been shorter. The cinematography could also have been better. But all in all, ladies and gentlemen, if you are looking for an epic Nollywood movie, a movie that has revolutionised the movie-making industry in Nigeria, the movie that we are grateful for because it has set the bar high and will serve as an inspiration to other movie-makers, King of Boys is that movie.