But, why will you not stay and manage the marriage? - Ezinne in "Battle on Buka Street"
Confession: This review is coming because the numbers at the box office (I mean, over ₦361,000,000 as of January 1, 2023) indicate that “Battle on Buka Street” keeps attracting movie lovers both home and abroad. Pronounce bandwagon effect. But better late than never, right?
Title: “Battle on Buka street“
Release: December 16, 2022
Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Directors: Funke Akindele and Tobi Makinde
“Battle on Buka Street” is not the regular story of bourgeoisie people whose source of income is sitting at home and bars, but a representation of the bickering that goes on when men decide to take on more than one female partner.
You would argue that the film is a good way to end 2022, having had the likes of “Anikulapo“, “Elesin Oba“, “Far From Home“, “Brotherhood“, and a host of other films that were released in 2022. But, we digress from that school of thought because a story like that does not “give Christmas vibes” – it is our lives every other day.
“Battle on Buka Street” starts with a scene that accentuates the ‘noise’ of a typical busy city like Lagos. But, the fictional village is Otanwa, a small community that produces the kind of drama that will surprise even Sabon Gari residents.
The film is reported to have attracted movie lovers abroad and already made $60,000, but is the Akindele/Makinde-directed movie 100%?
The Plot – “Battle on Buka Street”
The film is about a man (Nkem Owoh) who prefers having more wives than peace in his home. He follows the footsteps of his African forefathers, who acquired more wives than they could handle and ignites a rivalry between two of his wives – Asake (Sola Sobowale) and Ezinne (Tina Mba).
In a series of flashbacks and narration by Yejide (Funke Akindele), we are drawn to the genesis of the bunfights and eventual fracas you will see later in the story.
Awele (Mercy Johnson), Ezinne‘s daughter, eventually relocates with her husband, and Yejide thinks the rivalry was over until the former returns.
What happens next is a series of scenes where Awele and Yejide sabotaged each other at their restaurants, up to an explosion at one of the restaurants – pretty much, that even the audience agrees.
It ends on the most-suspected note – Happily Ever After!
What we think
The film examines issues that have lingered for longer than the people currently alive do not know. So, the central theme is the dangers of polygamy. However in the end, it drops lessons on unnecessary competition, family, improperly planned migration, stigmatisation, abusive marriages and the response of African parents, and chasing your dreams.
To our excitement, the fictional village that has ‘Buka Street’ is relatable in that you already imagine the food havens of Lagos when you begin to watch.
But, some parts of the story are left out until the end, like what happened with Baba Ademide, who was in prison, and the jailbreak that got him out. We see people running at night with sirens in the background, and the next scene is so unrelated you begin to wonder if the editor cut and pasted a scene from another movie.
Meanwhile, what if we had a story without diabolism, even if it is a truth, but knowing that diabolism is not always the route rivals follow? Besides, that whole spiritual parade seemed drab.
Skip or watch?
The “Awaiting Trial” phenomenon is bodacious with the Nigerian prison system, and “Battle on Buka Street” raises this point, even though curt. It is so systemic that hundreds and thousands are in Nigerian prisons and have no business there.
Besides the brevity of that point, the movie is a good representation of the lives of members of a polygamous family and the extent to which people could go to seek revenge. But, in the end, does love really win?
We recommend the movie because we saw reality playing before our eyes, and the presentation was astonishing.
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