REVIEWER: ONYEKA NWELUE
MOVIE TITLE: A MILE FROM HOME
DIRECTOR: ERIC AGHIMIEN
STARRING: TOPE TEDELA, CHIEDOZIE NZERIBE, ERIC NWANSO, CHARLES DECKER, VICTOR OSINUGA, MARIO DAVE, TUNDE AYAM, CHIEDOZIE ‘SAMBASA’ NZERIBE, ALEX AYALOGU, TOLU AKINBILEJE.
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2013
Many of the films made in Nigeria today are not available to their audiences. Most of the films people watch in Nigeria, at the moment, were made years ago. That is why some critics still see Nollywood films as nothing to write home about. However, the critics are wrong because most of them haven’t seen films like “A Mile from Home,” directed by Eric Aghimien.
It is that break-away movie that transcends beauty, art and tranquility in the understanding of perfection. It is a perfect work of art, from any perspective that one decides to argue from. It’s that film that tries to bore you, but never really achieves that.
In this film, Lala, a young university student (played by the charismatic Tope Tedela) doesn’t know where he belongs, longs for acceptance from people around and loves his sister very much. On campus, he joins a gang, which Nigerians refer to as cults and there is bloodshed.
But my favourite character is not Lala. It is Suku, played by Chiedozie Nzeribe. It’s actually Suku’s character that drives the plot of the film. Just like “City of God”, “A Mile from Home” is a violent tapestry of life, painted in blood.
There are characters you would wish never existed in the film, but as you watch through this long, lush narrative, you realize that every character is there for a reason. There is no one single moment of boredom in the film, even when it will appear so.
The language of the film is true to the characterisation and the entire body of the art work. The only character one meets and feels a bit iffy about, especially at the beginning, is the character of Deba, played by Eric Nwanso. But with time, slowly, you get used to him. At first, he is a bit annoying, not because the actor didn’t play his role well, but because during the conversations between Deba and Lala, it looks like there is no chemistry between the two actors. It looks like they are scared of themselves and are the only ones who exist in the university campus. Even the statue in the background, somehow, appears out of shot sometimes. In other films, we can see people walking around and if there is a reason for not having people around, in that scene, the film should explain. Was that a dream scene? Even so, we should know. This, we don’t know, hence the weakness of the directing, which is amply regrettable.
It’s very possible that he was in a hurry to make those scenes and that he didn’t want people to distract him, but it takes away from the beauty of the film.
There are so many reasons to fall in love with the film because every scene in “A Mile from Home” extends the story with something exciting.
As the film progresses, we meet new characters, hear more gunshots, witness more bloodshed and learn more intriguing facts about humanity. As usual, the love story centres on people who are in love with a particular girl, a fact that sparks a brutal war.
There is also the perceived betrayal, which the writer tries so hard to justify, but the character of Suku is so lovable and endearing even when he decides to kill the entire universe.
On the other hand, Lala is the character who leads your heart back to your emotions. The actor, Tope Tedela has done incredibly well and has shown that a popular face doesn’t really mean a great actor. In fact, the entire production is a suave piece of art that thrills you, amuses you and gets you caged.
“A Mile from Home” is a great film in every sense and can compete with films from different parts of the world, but the question remains, how many people have seen this beautiful work of art? Did you connect with it? At some point, you’d think there would be continuity issues and you figure that even the flashbacks are well-placed; the special effects awesomely done and then, we go back to our favourite character, Suku.
Suku’s character will remain in your head. His character is very believable. It is filled with action, the dialogue is taut and the storyline, even though it staggers at a point, gives you a chill.
If A Mile from Home doesn’t build a cult following just like “City of God” and “Viva Riva!”, it would be because no one saw the film.
It’s that languid but beautifully long film that you watch and then look at the watch and say, did I just spend more than an hour now?