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Genevieve’s Road to Yesterday is a misguided run

There was a lot of excitement leading to the release of Ishaya Bako’s Road to Yesterday, this was the director’s first feature and another fact, that lead actress Genevieve Nnaji too was making her debut as a producer.
The film was also coming almost two or more years of the actress’ absence from the African film circuit, thus the coming back wasn’t only meant to be described by the term bang but an epic bomb.
Did you even see the poster? Nnaji and her co-star with their backs facing each other and none of them even tried to be sexy – prophesied doom but not bad enough to involve weapons, just woman or man not talking to the other party.
It’s the kind of poster that reminds of all the lame romantic movies your sisters made you watch because they had the remote – Two Can Play That Game and its clan mates. 
Road to Yesterday, which finally premiered on Africa Magic Showcase, well has way too many things going on around it; in more than one way it proves that Nnaji could as well be Nigeria’s most talented female, successfully goes nowhere though still managed to win an Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) for Best Film West Africa.
The film is about a couple experiencing problems that embarks to a road trip for a burial but then turns out to be one they could easily use for discovery.
Mostly told in flashbacks – in fact almost 90% is told in flashbacks, the film shows us a vulnerable couple trying to understand what went wrong, why their house went silent or why they’ve become roommates than lovers of late.
Nnaji writes a relevant story and indeed using a road trip as the basis of the story was brilliant. And revealing many of the reasons for their distance on the journey was a smart way of describing our human nature, we may keep quiet for long but we shall always talk the moment we are pressed to.
But that wasn’t all, the film manages to keep it as real, especially with that scene where the house girl apologizes for letting their daughter witness her parents trying to go down on the kitchen floor after a drunken night out – guess it’s typical of all couples with maids.
British/Nigerian actor Oris Erhuerho potrays Nnaji’s disgruntled husband who has stopped trusting the wife after finding out that their daughter isn’t his – he blames her for it though later getting to learn that he was the cause of the lustful night that saw the daughter conceived elsewhere.
In summary, Road to Yesterday has a lot of potential, in fact, it has everything it takes to be a world class short film but for a feature, it’s just as basic, it drags to the moment you will plead with the pay TV provider to terminate your account.
For instance, at the beginning, much of the dialogue is lazy and useless, it neither guides nor carries the story forward, in fact, it’s after that bizarre decision to go on a road trip that the film starts to have some motion but again, we are usually let down by that repetition in the dialogue….ouush it becomes painful.
Then much as the cast was great, only Nnaji seemed to have brought her ‘A’ game along with her to the set, others like Majid Michael or Erhuerho were obviously absent.
For most of the film, you could think Erhuerho was acting for himself and cared less about his surroundings, his emotion delivery failed terribly to match that of his co – actor who unfortunately was stuck in shots with him. As a result, it became a case of bad ruins good every five seconds.
Then comedian Chigurl, (I learnt about this one from MI’s Monkey) – well, if there was an irrelevant cast, it was definitely this person. She was supposed to be the pivotal person that introduced Nnaji’s Victoria to Majid’s…whatever he was, and from him, Erhuerho’s Izu got to meet Victoria. All this happened in less than five minutes, but Chigurl’s presence was not felt, neither in comic relief or influence, if they told you that she was the soda in the bottles, you will just believe that because you will be trying as hard to fit her somewhere.
The ending is though the most beautiful part of the film – not that we badly wanted to see it out but that twist that took us from the hotel to the hospital, then replaying the actual tragic night was both emotional and creative.
Regardless of the short comings, Road to Yesterday is still a strong movie and force in both Nigerian and African film industries especially with the technical prowess of sound, editing and production design. 

About Kaggwa Andrew

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