For once we don't have to rely on foreign reviews of Blood and Oil, BBC 2's two-part film about militancy in the Niger Delta.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reviews the film in the Arts & Culture section of today's NEXT on Sunday.
Blood and Oil' is a film that names names - MEND, Joint Task Force - and a film that is clear about its contemporary Port Harcourt setting. There are scenes whose sole aim is to provide location authenticity, such as the Nigerian official slipping bribe money into his socks, the rowdy Nigerians in the economy cabin of an international flight, the excessive cell phone yakking, and these are all convincing. So, why are the accents so wrong? ("Where are these people from?" A Nigerian friend I watched the film with in Lagos asked). Sam Dede plays the Nigerian bad guy with dignified grace, and he is a relief to listen to because he alone sounds credibly Nigerian. It is lazy at best and patronising at worst to use characters who mostly speak a kind of generic Africanised-English; they become caricatures. Details matter because they lend authenticity and, for a knowledgeable viewer, can make the entire film believable or not.
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