Hey– Another Series of Toothless Panther?

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By Yusuf Balagun Gemini

For quite a while, I have stopped watching Yoruba movies or Nigerian movies generally, popularly regarded as Nollywood. It’s undeniable that the life in both scripting, delivering and presenting is lost. I’m not troubled by the numerous flaws in most Nollywood movies, I’m haunted by the harsh realities of a beginning that predicts the end. After many compulsion and coercion by my friend to watch a newly released Yoruba movie of just three casts, I had to resort to create some leisure time to sip the flavor of a movie which to me might just be another overrated work. The movie however interested me for the complexity applied in the title and the anxiety to understand what three casts could do in a sequential movie, at that.

Bukunmi Oluwashina unveiled HEY in a mystifying manner, leaving series of questions to the mind of the audience. The movie didn’t follow a chronological setup, hence setting up a pedestal of gambled opinions. The moments however spent with Lateef Adedimeji (Chris) while she was recuperating from a make-believe amnesia would have been worth it and actually, it was worth it. But the complication was that amnesia was not something Yvonne could have disconnected from with hallucinations so quickly, except it was a retrograde amnesia. Besides, the chance of memory regain was 50-50 and not 70-30, so the hallucinations shifted a bit from the intended idea. But it’s understandable how she was able to regain her memory the moment she read through the script but it’s not really realistic how she saw the script easily and speedily. Putting myself in the shoes of Chris whilst having the intention of ensuring Yvonne lose her memory for a donkey moment, I wouldn’t have left the script carelessly in the drawer except it was intentional. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, as portrayed in the movie. Stumbling on little things and connecting the dots would have been better (the necklace, as a good reference material).

Having identified this as a linear regression, the location could have been much better. But nevertheless, it was topnotch for a movie as such which obviously should have been based on an higher budget.

Studying the relative contents of the movie, the plot gained its blossom after the voluntary decision of Chris to donate blood to Yvonne. It’s however to be noted that it was neither consensual nor coercive, it was a matter of choice hence Chris necessarily wasn’t in for a reward (more of a barter). Generosity is a separate idea from love, I believe this concept led to the hamartia of Yvonne. If Richard (Jamiu Azeez) was in a position to donate the blood, he would have done so without looking back too. But then, friendship is all about sacrifices, right?

The harsh realities was initially portrayed when Richard was reluctant to confess his emotions to Yvonne. It’s weird how he claims “nothing could be more dangerous than procrastinating the desires of the heart” but he was actually procrastinating the desires of his own heart. Or perhaps, he gave way to Chris on his birthday just so not to break the pedestal of “friends forever” on a feminine affair. It’s however funny to know that Yvonne might not necessarily be in love with Chris but the fact that he was willing to donate his blood for her served as a trigger.. Nothing could be worst than unrequited love.

Communication is however a key factor in all spheres of relationships be it mutual or formal. One of the tragic flaws of Yvonne was the will to make an oath with Olugbohun without reflecting on her sense of reasons for a while. The angry and fallible sense of judgement bestowed upon Chris made him lose his sense of judgement that his wife and friend were theatre practitioners and hence might have been rehearsing an act when he overheard them. The bridged gap of communication further raked the conflict up and hence, the death of Richard was inevitable. The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from our enemies. What makes me eye dewy is the height of catastrophe caused by excessiveness – the death of Richard, the infertility of Yvonne and the ugly beauty of chaos. Brenna Yovanoff was right when he said “the treachery of demons is nothing compared to the betrayal of an angel”.

The end note “even if a man forgives, can a man forget?” leaves a clanging bell in the heart of every audience. And for the first time in a while, I was blown away by how a script could play into reality by the same characters, undiluted. Truly, the mind replays what the heart can’t delete.

On a conclusive note, I’d say Bukunmi Oluwashina has done more than well with the production. HEY is one of those few movies that can stand the tests of times and an affirmation that if strength is applied, magnum opus could come out of Nigerian movies – Nollywood, to be precise. Bukunmi explored the very intricacies of the craft, earning the title of an extraordinarie – an enigma. People at war with themselves, undoubtedly, will always cause collateral damage in the lives of those around them. HEY takes me from the track of Wakanda to the lucidness of a panther whose tail is not to be toyed with by goats.

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