Director: Charles Uwagbai
Script: Mike Ezuruonye
Producer: Mike Ezuruonye
CAST: Mike Ezuruonye, Funny Bone, Angela Okorie, Huddah Monroe, Katherine Kamaru, Juliet Ochieng and Wofai Fada
When a particular genre does well in the cinema, more films that follow the pattern get released. 2014 enjoyed a wild flow of romantic movies and movies centered on weddings, marriages or heartbreak. 2015 was a more diverse year, we had romance, drama, comedy and everything in between.
2016 has been the year of satire. Omoni’s “Wives on Strike” did really well at the box office; so did AY’s ‘A Trip to Jamaica’. It would appear that comedy as a genre has proven the most commercially successful amongst viewers across Nigeria. Serious issues have been discussed in the films we have seen. Mike Ezuruonye is not to be left behind. While his colleagues have strived to join the new cinema-breaking- movement, he has had very few releases and when he decides to make his own film, he does all the tasks. He writes, acts and produces himself in a continuation of the Asaba film we are used to seeing him in, the only difference is that his effort, “Brother Jekwu” gets a cinema release and is more memorable than the average Asaba release.
Brother Jekwu is a village hustler with an ambition of being great but his environment does not provide his ambition the air to become reality. Brother Jekwu a certified village champion is ready to move out of his comfort zone for a better life and with the arrival of his cousin Nwakego (Angela Okorie) he sees this possibility. Ego takes him along with her to Kenya where she had started her own life, earned some money and bought her own car. These things tempt her cousin. He sees the possibility of achieving everything she has achieved for herself and even more by living in Kenya. When they arrive Kenya a lot of events make up the whole production of the film. The idea is not to tell a particular story but dish comedic dialogue and actions to make the audience laugh. Mike is Brother Jekwu and he leads the cast by adopting a deep eastern Nigerian accent, sometimes accompanied by pidgin. His use of the accent incites laughter.
The whole idea of having a film like Brother Jekwu is to follow a model that has been tested and has worked before and for Mike’s debut it works quite well but many films that are made straight to DVD have followed this same story pattern, the list is endless, there is always a country that offers a better life but things go awry once the lead character travels to that country. Mike helms this successfully because he is a big star and is able to command his own audience. He also hires a couple of comedians to illicit laugher, sometimes it works, other times it seems too draggy. He however, does a nice job of writing a comedic script. There is a lot of laughter to enjoy in Brother Jekwu and the idea of Kenya as the country offering the greener pasture for Brother Jekwu does not quite work but it is his only option, considering the fact that South Africa, the U.K and U.S, Malaysia, France and other bigger countries have been used in past productions with similar storylines.
While some actors do well interpreting their comedic roles, the Kenyan actors let the film down by being overly relaxed and sometimes appearing unsure of what they are supposed to do. Mike hires the popular social media sensation Huddah Monroe to advance the plot but she ends up an “eye candy” without a purpose.
The sound is commendable; the same cannot be said for the cinematography. The shots are shaky in some scenes and in others they are all over the place. The idea to portray Kenya as a tourists dream does not perfectly work because the cinematographer had some mishaps that were not corrected in post-production. Brother Jekwu is a film you can afford to watch because it delivers on its promise of offering a wild comedic experience but at the same time it is a story that we have seen before and waiting for a DVD copy is not a bad idea.
About the Author
Rejoice is a 21-year-old aspiring Filmmaker and a big dreamer. She’s also a ‘Theatre and film’ arts graduate from the University of Jos, Nigeria.