The world premiere of The Vineyard Assembly’s new movie, Neema held on the 27th of June, 2017 at TVA church auditorium and it kept the audience glued to their seats for 2 hours tops.
Neema follows the lives of Gloria Jacobs and Bright Jacobs, a couple who seem to have everything going for them. The challenges they face are slight financial issues and momentary unemployment, none of which affect the love they share. They seem to have the perfect novel love story. They help their next door neighbour sort the issues in their marriage and guide their journey to restoration.
They seem to have a grip on whatever faces them, but when the storm that comes with the intention of crashing their home hits, it stuns them.
There’s a subplot with Samson, a stinking rich drunk who loves and is faithful to his wife only to discover that she’s been having an affair with a man whose life he literally sponsored. The series of events that follows this heart breaking discovery leaves him bitter and cold-hearted.
Neema passes messages on the essence of trust and communication in relationships, forgiveness, sensitivity, the fact that the enemy doesn’t relent, that even after being defeated he could still spring surprises and a lot more. It’s replete with lessons that unfurls as the story plays out.
Casting Opeyemi Akintunde as Gloria Jumoke Jacobs, is about the best decision the casting director made. The second best decision would be casting Afolabi Dipeolu to co-star with Opeyemi Akintunde, as putting an actor with less prowess in his place would have made it easy for Opeyemi Akintunde to mask him in the shadow of her shine. But thankfully, the match works and so does their chemistry. Kayode Babalola is great as Samson. The veteran David Kola Okeowo is perfect as the mellow spiritual father, Baabu. Faith Oyebokun and Tosin Odukoya respectively play Favour and Goodness, the Jacob’s children and they are endearing. Chinonye Chidoye has the perfect looks for Vera but her acting comes off a tad unnatural. Bolanle Adedoyin is unconvincing as Florence and most of the board members of TCC construction overact.
The writer, Tola Bolaji does a laudable work with the story and screenplay. The plot twists work, the climax build is tight and the back and forth of the dialogue is well ironed. The punchlines are not a blend of trite lines, like we have in most gospel movies. Samson’s flirting and psychology game is on point.
The many exterior shots of the city are beautiful, the make-up on fleek and the costumes and locations are classy. The pictures are of high-end quality (big ups to Kunle Adepoju for great camerawork too) but same can’t be said of the sound quality as it falters at some points. The sound effect is cheesy, the beatings sound like shattering of glass and the slaps sound kpish!
Some of the theme songs include; Kenny K’ore’s Yanibo, Jay_mikee’s Adara and Konstant’s Morenikeji.
The pitfalls. Some flashback scenes are unnecessary and or repetitive. Some parts of the movie are left hanging, I’d cite two instances. One, Detective Black tells Samson that he’d help him but first he has to do something and that’s all. Until the movie ends this isn’t revisited. Two, Bright tells Francis and Florence that he wants to tell them a story and the next scene glides in like it’s a play out of the story, but as we’d discover, the movie just continues, completely forgetting about Bright’s story.
Continuity discrepancy. At the hospital scene, Gloria wears the same clothe she wore while she was discussing with Florence at her residence and Bright wears the same clothe he wore while he held a meeting with TCC construction board members, which indicates that all events happen on the same day, but then, Florence dress is changed.
At times, the lip’s movement of the actors is not in synchronity with the sound of their voice. The subtitle is flawed. A little more attention to details would’ve gone a long way to help.
You might want to know, Neema means Grace in Swahilli. And when the credits roll, you sigh knowing fully well that Neema hasn’t left you the same way it met you.
Director- Kayode Babalola
Make-up artist- Nike Owah
Sound- Tosin Ayeni
Editor- Biodun Williams
Producer- Toyosi Babalola
Executive producer- Bukki Gbenro