Movie Review: Domitilla: The Reboot
For many “older” generations, the name “Domitilla” will ring a very familiar bell. Anytime I ask about it, faces light up once they remember the film that had the nascent movie-watching public in 1996. Frequently mentioned among Nollywood classics, it was only a matter of time before the recent trend of remaking or rebooting archetypal Nollywood films revived this flick.
Co-produced by Zeb Ejiro Productions, FilmOne Entertainment and Dion Visions, this film is more of a reboot than a sequel, but it does have the same steady hand of Zeb Ejiro returning to direct. Armed with a nearly brand new cast and free rein on where to take the story, he guides viewers into the sleazy underworld of prostitution in Nigeria.
The film follows a young lady, played by Oyinye Odokoro and her descent into the sordid
underbelly of the Lagos prostitution scene. Her slide is gradual, well paced and interspersed
with other stories to keep the plot moving smoothly. The cinematography is quite good as well. The MVP of the film, though, are the performance. Elvina Ibru is a clear standout as the menacing, almost treacly Madam V.
Her slow drawl, fashion sense and captivating catchphrase (Delicioussssss) definitely was my favourite part of the movie. The film is a harrowing eye-opener into the sex-work industry in Nigeria, where young women are bought and sold, made to perform demeaning sex acts and eventually killed and harvested for parts. I quite like that the film doesn’t shy away from that
aspect of things.
The girls in the story get put through an emotional wringer, and the movie is much better for it.
What prevents this movie from being a true standout are mostly technical issues. At multiple points in the movie, the soundtrack (I like how the soundtrack was reminiscent of early 2000s
Nollywood, with songs detailing the entire plot of the film) was louder than the dialogue, rendering the scene without meaning.
The final 30 minutes are quite a mess, both plotwise and technically. The audio began running
faster than the actor’s mouths on more than one occasion, completely pulling me out of the film. Plotwise, what had been a fairly gradual slide into debauchery suddenly devolved into an action flick and a rush to snip off any dangling plot threads. The film could’ve left some threads hanging for a potential sequel, but it’s hard to see that being the case now.
Overall, I really wanted to like Domitilla: The Reboot. The film does have a lot of good going
for it. Again, Elvina Ibru’s performance is worth the ticket price alone. She’s on a different level
from the other cast members, and that’s not an insult to them at all. She was simply sizzling. At the end of the day, I did feel the last 30 minutes didn’t do the rest of the film justice and left a
poor taste in my mouth.
I’d say go see it just to hear Madam Vee slither out her trademark “Delicioussss”, but not for much more than that.