Trust me since the days of the crime thriller ISAKABA made by Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen this 6-part mini crime thriller – SHANTY TOWN by Dimeji Ajibola has been the most anticipated series from Nollywood for me.
Partly because the Producer, Chichi Nworah is my friend and I followed the production processes. I saw Chidi Mokeme in the movie and his make up made me even more expectant, plus the fact that it’s been long he hasn’t shown what he is made of in excellent acting.
When the trailer was released, I was amazed by the pace, the thrilling impact and my curiosity was highly aroused.
I have eventually seen the series and I must say, in many ways than one, it didn’t completely meet my high hopes but it didn’t also completely dash them away.
The story line is a simple plot with hydra-headed attempt which softens the entire supposed thrilling impact it should have. Character developments are quite shallow, even Chidi’s role couldn’t go beyond first layer of unveiling. The basic element of HUBRIS which often leads to a protagonist downfall was not properly exploited.
I agree, the director was audacious with nudity, something we try to avoid in most Nollywood movies, but trust me, I commend the use of nudity to expouse the decay in the imagined SHANTY TOWN.
It’s a star-studded series, and of course you would expect everyone to be on top of their game. They did made very beautiful effort at that, sadly the material or the direction most times didn’t allow for the very best.
Pace is one element I emphasize in movies, even for drama or comedy which are my Forte. So, I was increasing becoming impatient at some slow burner scenes. The director indeed tried to use split screen techniques to enhance pace, but too much of it becomes distracting at some point.
I must commend sound score, it heightened the emotions at many times. Lighting is practical, and I love it. You could see most light sources and it looked very natural, except a few places where they allowed flair on the lens, but it’s a great technical work. I love it.
I also love the fact that beyond Igbo and Yoruba vernaculars, Ibibio is utilized heavily to establish relationship. It’s a bold step in promoting indigenous language and I am a big fan.
All in all, SHANTY TOWN did showed lots of positives but also carry the burden of admitting some failings which putting the budget in context, one could say, would have been better.