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TIFF Review: 76

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76

Nigerian soldiers planning a coup attempt to recruit a respected army officer.

A dream-like scene with a silhouetted figure running through a wheat field with a blood red sky segues into a darken cell where a captive is being interrogated about a failed military coup.  The storyline then shifts to show what happened leading up to the arrest.

When Captain Joseph Dewa goes to the door of his superior officer and to tell him to turn down the music it is established quite early on that he is not afraid of authority.  The military figure is also shown the utmost respect by the soldiers living on the army base.  The only concern for Dewa is his pregnant wife and the arrival of their first born child; however, other problems emerge as a group of colleagues want him to join them in assassinating General Murtala Mohammed.

At the heart of the movie is the turmoil of a young married couple on the verge of having a family.  The military unrest is the backdrop which causes the martial bonds to be tested under extreme circumstances.  As events unfold the two storylines become entwined with each other.  Full credit goes to the filmmakers for recreating the 1970s through the costumes, hairstyles and production design.  The vibrant daylight colours contrast with night scenes which are filled with shadows.

The camera movement is not flashy.  A good scene is when the camera remains static as the lights go out during a struggle and a gunshot is heard in the darkness which heightens the feeling of suspense.  Unfortunately, the acting does not feel as authentic as the setting.  The performances are staged rather than naturalistic.  It was like everyone was swinging for the big dramatic scene rather than letting their characters dictate the moment.

2-out-of-5

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Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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