Movie Review: The Tribunal

Director: Kunle Afolayan

Screenplay: Tunde Babalola

Cast: Funsho Adeolu, Bimbo Manuel, Nobert Young, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Ade Laoye, Carol King, Damilola Ogunsi

Year: 2017

Image result for the tribunal teaser kunle afolayan

2017 has been Kunle Afolayan’s, busiest year. So far, he has released three films. “Omugwo” in April, “Roti” in June,  and “The Tribunal” in September. These films have been met with mixed reviews to favorable reviews, and are the filmmaker’s collaboration with Africa Magic. All of these productions move away from the regular Kunle offering, where mystery has been offered at the center of his stories. “The Tribunal” marks the end to his cinema collaboration with Africa Magic, even though; there is a new series in the works.

“The Tribunal” is the story of Ifeanyi Imoh (Damilola Ogusi) who believes he has been fired from his banking job for being an Albino, rather than for the minor mistake he has made. His boss is Arese Abebe (Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde) and whatever led to the termination of Ifeanyi’s job will be contested in court, thanks to Ifeanyi’s enthusiastic friend Tanimowo (Ade Laoye). She has just graduated from Law school and seeks the help of Jimi Disu (Funsho Adeolu) to fight the case.  Jimi Disu has lost touch with his job as a Lawyer, despite establishing a very credible Law firm. It is Tanimowo and her persistence that creates a hero out of the character of Jimi. Together they strive to fight injustice, and through this, we have a revelatory encounter of some of the struggle of being an Albino in the corporate world – and in the world.

The discriminatory action on Albinos is the reason Kunle Afolayan creates “The Tribunal.” His film uses Ifeanyi Imoh’s experience to explore the injustice on Albino’s.

In certain cultures in Africa, Albinos were used for sacrifice because they were believed to be outcasts. It took the intervention of strict laws to stop these killings. The killings have stopped publicly but the discriminatory words lashed at them continue. They are called “Sunburn” or “Oyibo.” In Tunde Babalola’s script for “October 1” the term “Oyibo” is used as a reference to an Albino. The barman is regularly referred to as “Oyibo”, and with “The Tribunal,” we experience the hurt a word like that could cause.

The insensitivity faced by Albinos starts when they are children, and have to endure classmates mocking them. Tunde Babalola explores Ifeanyi’s story. Even though Ifeanyi commits a mistake that is used as a reason to fire him, he rejects this fault as the reason for losing his job. His boss Arese hates Albinos. She is discriminatory and her face while communicating to Ifeanyi tells us this. The aspect of battling this hate in court and demanding for compensation for this hate makes “The Tribunal,” what it is. It celebrates friendship, as well as it celebrates dedication. It also tramples on hate. At the center of the story are layered characters that make Kunle’s latest feature an adventure of learning.

“The Tribunal,” starts out strong but almost drowns its viewer’s mid-way, but it regains its strength in its final minutes. The actors never lose touch of the job at hand, and because of an ensemble cast that understands the art of believability, “The Tribunal” offers a good case for the cinema.


About the Author

Rejoice is a 22-year-old  aspiring Filmmaker and a big dreamer. She’s also a ‘Theatre and film’ arts graduate from the University of Jos, Nigeria.


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