WRITER: PAUL S. ROULSTON
DIRECTOR: STEVE GUKAS
PRODUCER: STEVE GUKAS, BOLANLE AUSTEN-PETERS, DOTUN OLAKUNNI
CAST: BIMBO AKINTOLA, DANNY GLOVER, BIMBO MANUEL, SOMKELE IDHALAMA, TIM REID, KEPPY EKPEYONG, TIM REID, ADEBOLA WILLIAMS, GIDEON OKEKE
There was the avoidance of handshakes, the thriving business and the price hike of hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizer was the new cool. There was also the 3AM bath with salt water on the 8th of August, 2014 and also the relevance of kola nut. We were promised at different points that if we did these things, we would survive Ebola. Many people took advantage of the situation and lies were constantly passed and as we panicked we believed them.
Most importantly, it was the fear, the resistance, and the suspicion we had for every sick person. If they were sweating too much, we felt fear. Every day, there were new people that were quarantined; there were new numbers of people that had contact with Ebola. There was the hate for Patrick Sawyer and the curses Nigerians sent his family and his dead body.
Ebola shook Nigeria, it may not have affected some of us directly, but we lived with the fear of it. Every day a new story was out and most of us did not know how to sieve the truth from the lies and at a point, we were all victims of fear. We were fed with lies upon lies but also one important truth is, many people put their lives on the line to prevent the outbreak of the disease, there was Dr. Stella Adadevoh, who unfortunately for most of us, only found out her sacrifices after she passed on.
93 Days is inspired by the events of the Ebola disease, the sacrifices, the family bonds, the tears and most especially it is a revelation of why Nigeria was declared Ebola-free.
When Patrick Sawyer (Keppy Ekpenyong) visits Nigeria with symptoms he is taken to the First Consultant Hospital and when Dr. Adadevoh suspects that he may be infected, she insists that he is kept in the hospital; her contact with Sawyer infects her with the disease. There was fear and panic in the hospital, the attempt to keep everyone calm and trying to find those with the symptoms of the Ebola disease is all featured.
Watching 93 Days, it is easy to draw conclusions that Dr Adadevoh was doing her job and nothing out of the ordinary by making sure that Patrick Sawyer stayed in the hospital, after all, she is a doctor and it is her job, but her effort and her commitment led to her death. We have very few people that have died for their jobs or to protect others. We hold deep gratitude for soldiers for putting their lives at risk to protect the nation and for Adedevoh, she is a testimony of those rare cases of true dedication. Most of us will think of resigning in such instances. She was a mother and a wife and she extended her warmth to Nigeria by fighting Patrick and preventing an outbreak of the disease. Some of us put in that situation will consider resigning. Dr Adadevoh stayed and we see the relationship she has with her family, which for me is the strongest part of 93 Days. While it was great seeing her do her job, it was also great to see she had a family, yet at the spur of the moment she made a vital decision.
One problem with 93 Days is that the producers of 93 Days have insisted that this is not a biopic but the film comes off as that. I would have loved to see beyond what happened at First Consultant hospital. I would have loved to see random reactions from Nigerians. How was our fear for Ebola a national problem? This is something that should have taken very little time to achieve and that is why I think it came off as a biopic, because it concentrates on the lives of a select few. A film has very little time to make its point, I understand that, but there are things that should not be ignored. The government is featured but what about the millions that feared about their lives. The inclusion of Dr Ada Igonoh was very inspiring, I watched the real Ada’s interview on Ebony Life TV after the incident and having Somkele in that role was one of the best decisions the producers made. Dr Ada is one of the survivors with an incredible story to tell, it was important to have her perspective. She deserves a movie of her own. She was the inspiration the film needed.
Bimbo Akintola proves over and over again to be a class act and her performance was purely heartbreaking.
Dr. Yewande Adesance played by Tina Mba was another highlight of the film. The best actors are those you hear very little about and from Bimbo to Tina, Steve Gukas had his eyes on the best thespians and that is why he must have hired someone as spectacular as Tina Mba for a supporting role that ended up one of the best performance of the film.
While the story may have some hitches, especially the use of accents that don’t work, the best part of the whole film lies in the cinematography. That was the major part of the film, it was incredible. Today you watch a Nollywood film and you see it all wrong, very few films get it right. 93 Days gets it absolutely right. Yinka Edwards is amazing. He knows his art and he does it to the best of his ability. We see Lagos in its beauty and we also see shots that define the emotions of this film. This is not a film that you will go in, trying to find entertainment; it is a film that sparks action. It sparks compassion and thought. It inspires and reminds us of how our past influences our tomorrow.
The producers do well with this film, most times, producers brag about a film’s budget and you watch the film wondering where all the money went. 93 Days is a film that you will watch and understand that a lot of money went into the work. It is a film that you will appreciate for its effort to honour and compensate those that have worked so hard to make sure that the rest of us are safe. It is one of the few films that documents heroism in Nigeria. The point is we hardly even get films that feature true events or true heroes. 93 Days takes inspiration from real life and makes art that we would always have to look back to and understand part of the story of the Ebola disease.
Steve Gukas does an amazing job and this is the kind of work that one does then goes to bed and rests well at night because even though we cannot be perfect, we can be near-perfect and 93 Days is near-perfect.