"Anikulapo" Review: A Film That Impacts Society & Popular Culture

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Kunle Afolayon - Nigeria's Finest Film Maker

Kunle Afolayon, the maker of October 1, released his new movie, Anikulapo on the 30th of September and everyone has been going on and on about it. Whenever a new Nollywood movie is out, it is habitual, especially if said movie was highly anticipated. However, it is not so common for them to have so many high praises and that is what makes this new movie stand out. I didn't plan to watch it but I had to so I could see this good new film everybody was talking about. I went into it with no expectations to avoid disappointment. After a two hours ride, it's safe to say Kunle Afolayon doesn't disappoint.

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Image From IMDB


Anikulapo is a Nigerian epic film that depicts greed and abuse of power. The film opens with a hooker. We see a mystical black bird with black smoke emitting from all around it, hovering above a badly injured dead man asking him the reason for his death. In Yoruba culture, that bird is referred to as Akala, which is believed to have the power of resurrecting the dead. We are taken aback to learn about the cause of this young man's death. His name is Saro (Kunle Remi) a traveler, seeking greener pastures in the Oyo kingdom. He meets Awarun (Sola Sobowale) a big businesswoman who convinces him to work for him in her pottery business so he could save enough to start his textile business. Soon after, they start an affair and the older woman provides him with everything he wants. Sugar Mummy!!! On the other side, there's Arolake (Bimbo Ademole) the king's youngest wife. Despite being his favorite, she is unhappy. She suffers scorn from his other wives because of her inability to bear children and the king's unwavering attention to her. During Saro's first visit to the palace to deliver clothes to the Queens, he locks eyes with Arolake and they fall in love. An illicit affair begins between them and they plan to elope but unfortunately for them, news of their affair gets to the king. Saro is killed and dumped in the evil forest. We go back to the first scene and life gives Saro a second chance with his lover, Arolake. Would this bring about a major change in his life?

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Simple StoryLine


Anikulapo has a simple storyline and message. From the beginning, it followed a single plot and there was no diversion whatsoever. It could be that Afolayon was playing it safe, as there's a saying that goes "Two many hands in a soup ruins its taste". And I was grateful for that. In the past, a good number of Nollywood movies have lost their plot trying to fit many stories into a single one. But Anikulapo stuck to its plot till the end.
The simplicity of the story was brought to life by high-quality acting and excellent cinematography. Kunle Afolayon did a great job with the casting. There was never a moment while watching the film I thought to myself that someone else could have done it better. From the body language to actions, to the portrayal of emotions were all executed perfectly hence making the viewing experience favorable with the absence of eye rolls.

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I Love The Cultural Representation.


I would quickly take you to a post by @namiks where he talked about how culture is fading away in our world. Movies, music and books are sometimes the only way we get to show the world and this movie did just that.

On Culture, Meaning, And Value

My favorite thing in the movie is the representation. This film spells Nigeria and Yoruba in every form. The title is a Yoruba word that means "he who carries death in his pouch". The movie industry has a long list of epic movies but none of them have portrayed pre-colonial Nigeria excellently and that is why Anikulapo stands out. I'm Yoruba and it made me happy to watch Nigeria culture displayed.
The setting is the 17th century in the Oyo empire and Yoruba was spoken throughout. Before the colonial masters came, we had our languages and I wish more producers would adopt this, just like the Koreans, Indians, and even Americans showcase art in their culture. There was also close attention to detail - the costumes, hairstyles, food, occupation, and the actors also had tribal marks that looked real. Everything worked together to create nostalgia. The movie is highly indigenous, cultural and great for teaching our heritage. The display of culture wasn't the only representation. Saro dutifully represented the famous Yoruba demons. I don't know if it was an intentional addition but it was accurately done.

The film passes a simple message, greed. The greed of men towards money, assets, and even women. A Nigerian adage says, " you cannot bite the hand that fed you". If you do, there is always a repercussion for it. Stabbing your helpers in the back never ends well. As far as I'm concerned, Saro was the cause of his initial death. The man was biting more than he could chew. In the words of kizz Daniel, "no go dey do pass yourself".



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In Conclusion...


The movie is a whopping two hours and twenty minutes long, which I think is overstretched for such a straightforward storyline. But the pacing was almost perfect. I enjoyed it so much majorly because of the cultural display in it. I wish to see more of it in the Nigerian movie industry. The country is so rich with a diverse and rich culture that we have failed to utilize it. It's saddening that we are letting our heritage die and have our noses stuck too deep in our colonizer's asses. Most of the new Nollywood movies only showcase a faux perception of luxury and elitism and as a nation we're tired. Overall, Anikulapo is a great movie and has the potential to bag international awards. I rate it 8/10. So I advise you to watch it. There's still hope for Nollywood, hand in there.


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I am @samostically,I love to talk and write about chess because i benefited alot from playing chess. sometimes i share my thoughts on life in general and i write about my love for hive!
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8 comments
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I'm not really a movie lover compared to like 5 years ago but just reading through this I could imagine how the movie played out and I would like to see it. I so much love movies that speak Nigerian languages and have subtitles, it's really fun for me. I miss those days when I see movies sha but I'm still not ready to start seeing movies like before.

It's a good thing you didn't discourage yourself from seeing the movie, I guess it was worth the time 😊.

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This movie!! I'm yet to see it, it's been trending on twitter NG. Probably number 1 in Nigeria currently. It's been added to my movie cart. I'm not a fan of local Yoruba native movies but the reviews on this movie is wild. A-list actors starred on it so I'll probably see it.

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I have not seen anything about Nigerian cinema, I didn't even know they had their own cinematographic style and this story has caught my attention in a positive way, thank you for sharing it with us, greetings.

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Everyone has been talking about Anikulapo and saying that it's a really good film. I have seen the trailer and I have to say that it looks impressive. I like the fact that a movie that goes way back to the pre colonial times can be rated so high by the public. I have not see it though mostly because it's in Yoruba and I'm Igbo. Still, I hear that the subtitles are translated to English so there really isn't anything stopping me from seeing the film. I'll see it soon.

I really like your review, man. There is clearly a passion for cultural preservation in your words. Great job!

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Thanks for the compliments, hope you are good?

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I can’t wait to watch it. Looks like it’s worth the hype 😭

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Omo the hyping I have heard from people for this movie shows how interesting and fun it will be,I have got to watch it😁.

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