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Review

Many Thorns of a Short Film: A Review of No Good Turn

No Good Turn by Udoka Oyeka tasks human nature: his psychology, ethics, instincts and morals. By bringing one of many dastardly Boko Haram’s exploits in the Northern part of Nigeria to the door step of the viewer’s emotions, No Good Turn (through pictures) shakes the very foundation of humanity.

It is an effort, Oyeka says, to bring closer the experiences of individuals in the face of these inhumane happenings in that part of the country. The extent to which he has been able to achieve this is weighed in this 17 minutes short film.

A suicide bomber has just been brought to a hospital. Anguish, pain and blood pervade the emergency unit admitting victims of an attack. The pictures are nakedly convincing. The doctor is visibly traumatised; he fights back emotions trying to take over him; he tries to have a shot of spirit kept in his locker to regain a bit of self. The news of the attack is everywhere, and doctor has obviously lost his mind in the bedlam.

Then a policeman bursts his way in search of the suicide bomber in a manner that can be said is overtly overplayed. The police officer—played by the veteran actor, Norbert Young—has two other lower ranked policemen who willingly and without being ordered, carried out their boss’s anger on his subjects.

Gun to head, the doctor shows the officer around. The two are now torn between professional ethics and natural instincts. The officer accepts his fate, gives a good turn having been able to overcome his instincts (which was to kill the unconscious suicide bomber now receiving treatment in the hospital), but the same cannot be said of the doctor, who later contemplates giving back a bad turn after learning of his wife’s death from the bombing. Should we then justify his earlier trauma by telepathy?

For short films, there is a challenge not to leave loopholes capable of losing viewers’ attention at any moment of the duration of the play.

Oyeka, in featuring a soundtrack by Brymo, one of Nigeria’s best artist, seems to know his onion; the film’s soundtrack alone may indulge many more viewing of the film. There is, however, a big hole the director seems not to have taken cognisance of: the film lacks wordy depth. Expressions of the doctor and the policeman in the scene where they sit in the doctor’s office could have been done more in poetic verses rather than just actions and gestures. The director may want to invest in the services of a writer having admitted himself not one.

by Dare Dan

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