Ageshinkole is a definite watch as the epic mostly delivers on its promise.
In cinema, language plays many roles. For example, language sometimes offers a way for culture to be properly packaged and conveyed. It can also be used as a representative tool. In some cases, it's used to indicate and engage an audience and other times it's simply used to represent authenticity.
For the longest time, many Nigerians have at one point or the other uttered the phrase “I don’t watch Nollywood films''. That phrase was usually used to refer to local movies, especially those in the popular Nigerian native languages: Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo. There was generally a disconnect between the younger generation and the entertainment industry. Over the years, however, the dynamics have changed. Because of the clear upgrade that the industry as a whole has experienced, a lot of its local content is now much more appealing to youths. One of such new movies which is completely indigenous, but still piques interest is the new Anthill Studios and Euphoria 360’s co-production Ageshinkole(King of Thieves).
Co-directed by popular producer and director Adebayo Tijani and Tope Adebayo, Ageshinkole (King of Thieves) is an epic story about an invincible bandit named Ageshinkole who, constantly driven by revenge, terrorizes a fictional kingdom called Ajeromi. The epic begins with a pretty cliched opening and concludes with a narrator (Segun Arinze) who acts throughout the entire film as a guide. The second scene, much better than its predecessor, would have made a more befitting opening. It immediately brings a sense of drama, thrill, and excitement that lasts up until the penultimate scene.
Despite the story's similarities to previously made Yoruba epics, there is still something quite different about Ageshinkole. It pays great attention to detail and thorough research was evidently done since it explores so many different aspects of the film from production design, costumes and dialect usage.
Throughout the movie’s runtime, the actors' performances seem to guide the development of the characters, although several scenes had the potential for more philosophical depth, they were barely explored. The narration-heavy scenes, which could have been placed in a purely cultural setting like "tales by moonlight", could have helped it get closer to the story and help the message hit home. The concepts of rebirth and reincarnation as they relate to Yoruba culture could have also been explored more. Regardless, other directors in the industry are encouraged to explore their artistry further as Ageshinkole showcases a deeper sense of creativity and stories that can be explored in the industry.
Nollywood's technical abilities are also well showcased in this film. The camerawork is excellent and is not overly ambitious but is nevertheless efficient enough to support the story, the scoring is good, but at times, unnecessary and distracting, and CGI is used effectively.
In Nigeria, whose over 200 million citizens speak some 500 languages, the film industry puts out 1,000 to 2,000 films a year. A global audience estimated in the hundreds of millions (if not more) watches these films, which are dubbed, subtitled, or already in an accessible language (mostly, but not always, English). While making films in African languages will continue to refocus, reengineer and reposition them and save them from extinction, it also will expand the coding, documentation, and communicative capacities of the languages. Making films in indigenous languages will facilitate the linkage of Africans in Diasporas to their roots and project the rich tourism potential in Africa. That being said, Ageshinkole is a definite watch as the epic mostly delivers on its promise.
Ageshinkole(King of Thieves) is currently streaming in cinemas Nationwide.