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THE 4th REPUBLIC Movie Premiere and Review

-With Aisha Sambo

The movie premiere for Lola Akindoju’s Political drama, the 4th Republic was all planned and well thought of, a fantastic evening for movie and politics lovers. The movie premiere took place at the Royal Hall on the 6th floor at Dunes Centre on the 11th of April and the dress code for the event was: ’Your Excellency’ [What would you wear to your inauguration?], which I thought was very cool and creative. The whole set up oozed creativity as the first point of contact ushering guests into the hall were dressed in the National Youth Service Corp uniform (NYSC). Before entering the Hall, the Youth coppers asked guests to fill out a survey in format of a ballot paper and insert into a 4th Republic ballot box.

The perimeter had great aesthetics and on entering the hall, you will immediately sense its special intimate atmosphere. However once you had a seat, if you were sitting towards the back, you were bound to have someone’s head blocking you. If you were unfortunate to be sitting behind someone who really took the dress code seriously by wearing an extravagant head piece or ‘Gogoro’ then I pity you. At some point the seats felt uncomfortable as well. Was the royal hall a lovely space for a premiere? Yes. Was the hall the best place for a movie premiere? Maybe if they had bleacher, those sitting behind wouldn’t have had to struggle to view the screen. There was one pop-corn machine inside the hall where guests queued up for a bit before the movie started. The machine was very slow, wish they had at least 4 machines would have saved viewer from having to wait that long.

All the stars were present for the perimeter Kate Henshaw, who took the lead role playing Mabel King, aspiring to be the first governor in Nigeria but her character gets caught up heavily in election malpractice. Co-stars included Eyinna Nwigwe, Bimbo Manuel, Linda Ejiofor, Yakubu Mohammed and Sani Mu’azu. The film was written by Emil B. Garuba and Zainab Omaki. Garuba co-wrote the Netflix original film, ‘Lionheart’ with C.J. Obasi, Chinny Onwugbenu and Genevieve Nnaji. His 2015 feature film “Road To Yesterday’ won Best Film at the 2016 Best Film (West Africa) at the 2016. He also directed ‘The Royal Hibiscus Hotel’ for EbonyLife Films, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017. The film takes you through a female political aspirant Mabel King and her idealistic campaign manager, Ike. They and a dedicated team try to discover what went wrong during the elections and seek justice through an election petition tribunal. Their quest soon becomes a race to find and convince two young witnesses with evidence of violence at the elections to testify in court; before the opposing candidate finds them first.

As the film starts rolling silence echoed the hall. My immediate note was a few cheesy lines such as “I like my women black like my coffee”, that made me cringe. The connection between the two youth coppers Amina and Lucky was remarkable, I loved that they used a lot of culture intertwined in the friendships that grew in the film. The quality of the film had a few inconsistencies, but the drone shots were beautiful. Even the acting was impressive, especially from the elderly actors for example the woman community leader called Patience was exceptional, funny and entertaining. The humour was not bad throughout the film and the torture scene was amazing, kudos to the makeup artist for that scene where Lucky and his mother were being tortured.

I hope that wasn’t a spoiler. I’m yet to see a Nigerian film that really hits the nail on the hammer with action scene, especially shooting scenes. Unfortunately the scene in 4th republic didn’t do it for me, great attempt but no extra push from the usual typical gun shot scene from a Nigerian movie.

My rating for this film would be 4 out of 5, for the premier I’ll give it a 3.5. All in all I would watch the film again in a more comfortable environment, worth watching in cinemas? yes! The 4th Republic is now available at Silverbird Cinemas, Genesis Cinemas and Film House Cinemas.