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Òlòtūré – A Review

N. F. Kenure


 I enjoyed this.

'Oloture' captivated me from the start, remarkably maintaining my attention without prompting the slightest eye roll – a rare feat in my cinematic experiences.  I was more than halfway into it before I realised I had not rolled my eyes– not even thought of it. Yes, the bar is low, but it is what it is. The title, signifying 'endurance,' fittingly describes many of my past viewing experiences; it was engaging rather than an exercise in patience.


'Oloture' is the story of many young girls who are trafficked from Africa into Europe as sexual slaves told through a refreshingly unique point of view. The film navigates the journeys of young African girls trafficked into Europe for sexual exploitation. The screenplay stands out for its craftsmanship, presenting unexpected twists that elude predictability – a common pitfall in many contemporary Nollywood films. Interestingly, a twist revealed in the movie's trailer remained impactful, underscoring the narrative's strength without spoiling the viewing experience.


What was right with it? Many things. First of all, and most importantly was the script. It was a well-written story. I did not see the first twist as the story unfolded and usually, and like mentoined earlier, you do not have to be Sherlock Holmes to anticipate a 'supposed' surprise in our movies.


I saw a trailer only after seeing the movie and saw that this twist is given away in the trailer which means I do not have to be coy about spoilers. Olutore is a story of a journalist who goes undercover into the world of sex workers to uncover a sex trafficking ring but gets more than she bargained for. I especially liked the end. My immediate reaction to the final scene was, ‘Welcome to adulthood, Nollywood,’ because the 'boogeyman' does not always get what's coming to it. The final act had a couple of issues but the end was strangely satisfying.

 I think the cast, save for one or two people, were spot on in carrying out their duties, but the supporting characters were the winners by miles. From Ikechukwu who is Chuks the pimp, to Landlady Sandra (Omawumi). But most especially Omowunmi Dada who plays Linda, and Blessing played by Kemi Lala Akindoju, who are both prostitutes. These ladies enriched the emotional depth of the movie effortlessly. Sharon Ooja, in the titular role, admirably diversifies her acting portfolio, anchoring the film with her performance.



Image from Moviesjoy.co


The high-life music, set a classic Nigerian seventies vibe while still coming across as timeless. The locations used were one of my favourite things about Oloture. I loved that ia lot of it was in pidgin which will make the movie accessible to many more Nigerians– no highfalutin 'I-live-in-Lagos' English. All of the above encapsulated the gritty street life of the ladies of the night desperate enough to pay their way into bondage for life in ‘the abroad’.

The cinematography and editing were also on point. The scenes did not go on too long or were not unnecessary. The Babalawo montage lingered but it was an appropriate artistic choice, it was devoid of the cheap theatrics that Nollywood casts on these rituals. It felt practical, and a logical step in the sequence of events.  

The dialogue was great; realistic and appropriate, as was the wardrobe; little things that many of our films either gloss over or exaggerate.


 I'll ignore small irritations like bad chain smokers or a couple of loopholes– why go on such a dangerous mission without an exit strategy or adequate backup? Or the sudden declaration of love from Blossom Chukwujekwu who plays Emeka in what should have remained a purely professional relationship.

Is a romantic dalliance with a colleague the only chance a reporter in the field has of being protected on the job? Certain narrative decisions, such as the lack of a clear exit strategy for the dangerous mission and an unnecessary romantic subplot, detract from its overall realism and focus.

I hate that Nollywood’s go-to depiction of a bad girl or a prostitute is a cigarette smoker, it is now so ingrained that it is almost a chicken-and-egg situation. Are you a bad girl who smokes because Nollywood says so, or does Nollywood say so because many sex workers smoke?


Despite these minor criticisms, 'Oloture' is a commendable work that shines a light on a significant issue with dignity and depth. I've recommended it to family and friends, a testament to its impact and the important story it tells.


The movie gives a good account of itself and all involved can be proud of what they put out. I have actually told family and friends to watch. 'Oloture' was written by Craig Freimond and Yinka Ogun. It’s an Ebony life film, executive produced by Mo Abudu, and directed by Kenneth Gyang. It is a testament to the evolving landscape of Nollywood and is now streaming on Netflix.



Oct 6, 2020