Iyore (The Return) is really a love story in disguise as an epic. It is the story of two lovers who cannot be together for varying reasons at varying times. Of course, the fact that this love story has happened time and time again in history is not revealed until the end of the movie (so…that might have been a spoiler depending on how you view it).
In current day, the lovers are played by Rita Dominic and Joseph Benjamin. Even though Rita does a great job as Osarugwe and Joseph holds his own for the most part in this movie, the real performance treasure in this movie was Paul Obazele who plays the father to Joseph’s character and also the Oba. In the one scene where his son tells him why he cannot do as he (the king) would like, you see actual emotions pass through Paul’s face over and over again. That one scene might have been the only time that characters were able to emote sans the melodrama.
The story behind this movie is beautiful and it builds from scene to scene and time to time without ever creating that confusion of “ok, so whose story is this now? What era are we in now? Is this past or present?“. However, it is only in the last 9 minutes (literally! I was checking) that all the ends are tied back together. The movie is able to maintain a certain degree of unpredictability till the final moments and this is probably its greatest charm.
The sets, the costumes, the music and the entire air of the Bini kingdom is aptly recreated in this film from the perspective of an uninformed audience. However, there are arguments that the Bini names are not pronounced correctly by most of the cast members on screen. Speaking of these other cast members, it is fair to say that the only people bringing any degree of ‘acting’ to this film were the listed actors and even some of them were not consistently good. Therefore, this movie did lack some in performances but made up for it in spectacle.
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