Movie Review

‘IJAKUMO’- THE BORN AGAIN STRIPPER’ REVIEW: NOLLYWOOD CLINT EASTWOOD

O’star Eze describes this movie as deserving a Clint Eastwood Retouch

By O’star Eze

I don’t know if you have noticed that there is a niche, a mighty niche Film One is ‘monopolising’ lately?

Anyway, yet again Film One, in partnership with Toyin Abraham Films Production comes up with this Clint Eastwood standard Nollywood blockbuster, Ijakumo The born Again Stripper. From the title of the movie, I am expecting to see a lead character with a duo personality disorder, living an interesting life worth watching.

What first struck me was the carriage and swag of the lead character played by Toyin Abraham, as she controls the camera from the first light. The first sight of her is the sight of a very elaborate well cowried dreadlocks of a lady in her 40s, maybe 50s, dressed in dark coloured jumpers made in local materials, all ‘ringed’ up and looking as confident as can be. Asabi moves against the backdrop of middle aged women who are all dressed in white, chanting ancient Yoruba psalms. The deity in these psalms is however the lead character, Asabi.

Now the voice of that dude that made that presentation in the next couple of beginning scenes is meant for international recognition. His carriage and the way he portrayed his character reek of painstaking professional effort.

One of the striking things about Toyin’s character, Asabi, is the way she flaunts all the grandeur and strangeness of the Yoruba culture; facial tattoos included. I think the facial tattoos accentuated her aggressive feline look.

Psalm 146: “Put not your trust in Princes
Nor in the son of man
In whom there is no help”

This Biblical verse may never wipe from my mind after seeing this movie. This was the verse this young lead vocalist was given to read by her pastor after she complained about her sister’s ailment calling him her only hope in sponsoring the treatment. This is someone who moves people to donate handsomely towards building a real estate for the pastor.

The theme of Pentecostal church exploitation of the masses is explored here. The sheer madness and broad day light robbery telling people that donating their all towards your conceived project is donating to God because you said so. As if the creator of everything needs anything?

Toyin Abraham has been able to make a movie where women are Gods as they truly are and the men are mere vanity seekers ever at the brunt of the rod from the moms, our gods, goddesses rather…whatever.

The theme of a total recoil to our ancient ways where the gods are those who control your destiny, and in this case women, stands out in this lovely movie. I never knew Nollywood could outdo Hollywood and Bollywood put together in thrillers till I saw this movie. I am sure I will see it again and again. The poetry of the lines deserves an Oscar.

Now, broooooo!!!
That club scene burst my head. The lines were top notch. Una done kiii me oo. The suspense. The film wants you to dread as well as get excited about that point where the two masked fornicators-in-view discover they are actually the pastor and the lead chorister. The pastor cannot pay hospital bill for a lupus patient but can pay a million naira to sleep with the sister. Matters arising!

When you think you are the one fucking them, they are actually the ones fucking you up. This is the theme of the movie Ijakumo. A movie that got my five star even before I had watched it half way.

The Sharon/Mary controversy scene in the Pastor’s office just after the club scene got me doubled up with laughter. And yet again, we are taken deeper into the cave of the Yoruba ancient wisdom with Asabi at the centre of it and just as we are about getting comfortable in the sheer mystic spirituality of the Yoruba tradition the jolt of Christian worship is given again.

The director must be a sadist. He enjoys the passionate pains he is causing with suspense.

The level of harlotry and infidelity and debauchery that is associated with Christian devotional worship is portrayed in such poetic ways. My best scene is the one where the pastor is seeing Sister Mary ministering songs of anointing in church and imagining the Mary now as Sharon giving him a sensual lap dance. You need to see this movie.

While everyone else on church is falling under anointing, Pastor is having a hard-on looking at the same woman that is causing tremendous Holy Ghost move in church. He has to sit down to conceal the erection.

“Can you do organ harvesting?”

One of the job offers made to Pastor Olajide on his road to comfort.

The movie director’s struggle to connect all the dots could be seen as the movie got to a crescendo.

The director almost lost me at some point towards the end of the movie and I really do not think that shoot-out scene was the best they could do considering how the movie started.

It is a story of female vengeance; surviving in the streets and the contrast between western religion cum capitalist culture and the indigenous religion and culture with the thin lines drawn between the two by Nigerians as they explore their existential experiences. It is altogether a four-star movie for me and parental guidance is advised.

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