Izu Ojukwu’s ’76 left me with mixed feelings. The movie set in 1976 as the title implies tells the story of love and betrayal in the midst of war. Captain Dewa (Ramsey Nouah’s character) and Suzie’s (Rita Dominic’s character) love is tried when he is arrested for his suspected involvement in a coup. Against the background of family pressure, suspicion and a nervous breakdown, Susannah has to decide whether or not to support her husband.
What did I like about this movie?
The acting, most of it was convincing. I was particularly impressed by Ramsey and Chidi Mokeme’s performances. To be candid, they aren’t my favorite actors and I was wondering if they could deliver. I wasn’t disappointed. I also loved Pat Nebo’s delivery, he came across strongly as a cold-hearted conspirator. I used to love Ibinabo Fiberesima in the 90’s, she was just beautiful to watch. However, in this film, I wasn’t captivated, I thought she could stretch herself a bit more. I didn’t feel the emotions she was supposed to convey. Daniel K Daniel was on point, he took on his role of a corporal well.
The detail in this film was obvious, from the costume to the set design, location, music, acting, and dialogue. I was transported to the 70s, I can’t think of one thing that was out of place. From the vehicles, to the dishes used in the couple’s home, to the birthday party that had the children eating the famous Cabin biscuit!
But let’s talk about the story shall we? I appreciate the fact that this movie portrayed the struggles that soldier’s wives and their relatives go through for the service of the nation. If there’s one thing this movie left me with, it’s the insight into the trauma that these women go through, the uncertainty, the sacrifice. They are vulnerable, anything can happen to their lives in the twinkling of an eye.
This film was devoid of violence, and unnecessary sentiments and actions. The writer focused on the theme of love and betrayal, telling a gripping tale. I found it difficult to take my eyes off the screen. However there were loose ends and distractions that left me confused. In the scene where Suzie and Dewa were going to kiss, I wonder why another action couldn’t replace the jarring loud music of their dancing neighbor. I was lost, wondering if the action had any significance to the film. Another instance is when Ikenna gives his sister a letter from Gomas to Dewa. First I wondered why he was in that scene at all and why we didn’t get a chance to find out the contents of the letter. Also in the scuffle between Gomas and Dewa, we don’t know what exactly happened after the lights went out, how both men survived (despite the gunshot), or why Gomas is dressed in mufti in subsequent scenes. I want to say more but I’m concerned about leaving spoilers. These are the things that left me with a mixed feeling, I enjoyed the movie but these distractions are almost unforgivable for a film that showed attention to detail in other areas.
Or maybe I’m the one that didn’t understand the film?
It was a good movie though, I would still recommend it. Izu Ojukwu did a good job bringing to life the struggles of an army family.