Monday, May 11, 2015

Black November given limited US release and now on DVD

 Movie:  Black November

Unrated, limited movie release in 2015, now on DVD
1 hour 36 minutes

Grade: C+

In a Nutshell:   Most Americans don’t know anything about Nigeria, other than the occasional spam email from a supposed Nigerian prince claiming to give money for help transferring funds through their bank.  The film is a collaboration between Hollywood and “Nollywood” that attempts to introduce viewers to the violence, corruption, poverty, and heartbreak that results from Big Oil and an oppressive military government in Nigeria.

While this preachy thriller is certainly a passionate plea for help, most audiences won’t know what to do with what they’ve just seen.

Uplifting Theme:
·         One voice matters.

Things I liked:
·         It was fascinating to take a peek inside Nigeria and “meet” the Nigerian people who struggle in so many ways.
·         I loved hearing the Nigerian people sing.
·         I often wonder “where are they now?” about certain actors.  Well, some of them show up in bit parts in this movie: Anne Heche, Vivica Fox, Kim Basinger.  The Walking Dead: Season 1 fans will be happy to see Sarah Wayne Callies.  Music stars Wyclef Jean and Akon even appear, with Akon also being named as executive producer of the film.

Things I didn’t like:
·         Despite Hollywood’s contributions to the film, the overall effect is an amateur feel.  For example, you can see the glare from the camera lens on occasion, as well as microphone packs underneath some of the actors’ clothes.
·         Some of the American Extras in the cast were terrible, although most of the Nigerian Extras were terrific.
·         The CGI explosions looked super fake.
·         I wish Mickey Rourke would shampoo his hair.  Then again, maybe that was Nigerian Director Jeta Amata’s way of telling us his character was a greasy slimeball. Of course, Jeta Amata didn’t have anything to do with Mickey Rourke’s botched face lift.
·         Some of the cheesy background songs didn’t match the style of the movie.  Inspiring Nigerian music would have been so much better.
·         The story features Ebiere, played by Mbong Amata, whose face doesn’t even appear on the movie poster and who is listed WAY down the list of cast members on several web sites.
·         It feels like writer Jeta Amata watched old American movies and political speeches to get ideas for his script.  Cliched lines like “Give peace a chance” sound more rhetorical than authentic.

Lame lines:
·         “We should have seen this coming.” – Angela
·         “I am not blaming you for my government.  I am blaming you for you.” – Nigerian rebel

Facts about Nigeria that are introduced in the movie:
·         1 out of every 5 Americans uses Nigerian oil.
·         Nigeria is the #5 top oil producers in the world.
·         Life expectancy in Nigeria: 47
·         Nigerians live off of $4 or less a day.
·         Nigeria has the 7th largest population in the world.

Tips for Parents:

·         This is not a pleasant movie for anyone to watch, especially not children.  There is a rape scene, and plenty of brutality, including setting people on fire, women being beaten and a hanging.

Two better movies that show the plight of African people are:

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