The Lord Says Otherwise: A review of “Nimbe” The Movie – Som Adedayor
Why would you name your only child Oluwanimbe, Nimbe for short, that is, the Lord says the name bearer is (alive)?
Well, in Nimbe, we don’t really find out why Uduak (Toyin Abraham) and Bayo Oguntade (Odunlade Adekola) name their boy just that, but we do know one thing: the director, Tope Alake, doesn’t have a second chance in his wallet.
No attention at home from ever-quarrelling parents; a sport-betting, cheap-alcohol-and-gin-drinking, abusive father and a caring, trying-to-be-better, church-going mother, plus the terror of Banji the bully at school, smart and talented Nimbe Oguntade lives a boring, lonely life, and only has a stream as friend into which he throws stones or draws how he feels while sitting on a stone whenever he’s downcast.
Then, a friend walks into his life, your typical rich lad who has everything but his father’s attention and his mother’s care; braids-wearing Ralph. Through Ralph, who’s often seen with a fancy bottle containing some colorful liquid and a cross bag from which he brings out some white rolls, Nimbe is drawn into the world of drugs.
When Ralph takes Nimbe to AK’s villa, we know trouble might just be idling in the corners of our eyes. AK, your drug lord who runs the streets and takes everything out of his way (especially lives) produces Slak. Think of something stronger than Codeine, Tramadol and Rephinol combined, but subtler, so that “they go [sniff] one, they go [sniff] two, and they go boom!”
And when talented Nimbe draws AK’s portrait as his birthday present and the street master, saying it’s his best gift ever, accepts Nimbe as his “protégé,” and gives him total access to his villa (Paradise), we know the trouble sitting idle in the corners of our eyes might go boom!
Just then, Baba Nimbe chooses to chase Uduak and his son out of his house over a washed bet ticket of 1.5M thus leading Nimbe to relocate to AK’s villa.
The casting is excellent. The actors and actresses are fine particles of sugar on the movie’s donut, particularly the younger actors. Chimezie Imo is brilliant in the lead role. Doyin Abiola is sweet as Peju, AK’s sister; you should love her childlike quirks, attitudes borne out of being treated like a golden egg by AK. Molawo Davis is cute as Ralph (though you have to let his “I saw you fought…” slide).
However, our dear Toyin Abraham’s Igbo/pidgin accent is unconvincing. Her very first statement is not just it. Maybe we really need to make her watch and listen to Gabriel Afolayan, a stark Yorùbá, play Igbo or even Togolese. Why hasn’t Toyin Abraham played the uneducated, middle-aged woman she played in the hit Elevator Baby?
Bayo Oguntade?Well, Odunlade did what he does the most: overact. That’s if you’re not, by the way, obsessed with him. Actually, he did that a little less this time around.
Nimbe has a good storyline, but director Tope Alake is forcefully didactic, spoon-feeding us with his moral: he ties up the movie in a resolution whereby every erring soul gets his just desserts.
Above all, Nimbe is a mix of smart performances, good storyline, clean pictures—forget that the colors don’t actually pop like you’d expect—and nice tracks. Out of five stars, I’ll give ita 3.5, and that’s because I’m in my Father Christmas’ mood..
Som Adedayor is a Nigerian writer and journalist who currently runs a degree in English Language at Obafemi Awolowo University.