MOVIE REVIEW: Hell Or High Water

MOVIE REVIEW: Hell Or High Water

This short film certainly would not make heads roll like I had imagined when I saw the trailer, but it is still a welcoming attempt to show the ‘average’ heterosexual individual the fact that they hinder LGBTIQ persons from being who they really are, and also that you can be spiritual if you want to.

Written by Habeeb Lawal and produced by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) in partnership with Asurf Films Limited, Hell Or High Water tells the story of a young pastor, Gbolahan, who is loved by the people around him due to his good works and dedication to the church. Things change for him when he has to confront a hidden truth about himself—a truth that could make or break him psychologically. Whatever decision he makes, he is still going to crash and burn, for life as he once knew it would never be the same again.

The movie stars Enyinna Nwigwe as the lead actor, AMVCA winners Daniel K. Daniel (DKD) and Tunbosun Aiyedehin, alongside Ashionye Raccah, Adedayo Davies and Chika Okeke.Pictures (2)

The lead actors in this short movie all gave amazing performances, most especially Enyinna Nwigwe who plays the pastor. He gave a performance that was genuinely believable. DKD held his own but he wasn’t really at his best. His on-screen ex-wife played by newbie, Chika Okeke was a breath of fresh air; her screen time was limited but in that short time, she manages to leave a phenomenal impression. The duo who played Enyinna’s parents, especially the mother, were both really good and funny; Tunbosun Aiyedun portrayed the character of the disapproving mother who still loves her son unconditionally very well. Ashionye Raccah played the role of the pastor’s wife, and her devastation when she discovered her husband’s sexuality was a performance that dared to pull at the heart strings.

Initially, I felt as though there was no chemistry between the two male leads who were purportedly in a relationship once upon a time, but then came the bedroom scene, and that was enough to change my mind. That would also be the part that’d make a homophobe seeing this movie cringe. But who cares?

The deliverance flashbacks should have been properly explored; a heterosexual person watching this might find it a bit confusing. Also at some point in the movie, Gbolahan had to hide inside his lover’s closet, which made for comic relief, except for the fact that the closet was empty enough to fit him in was unrealistic. The monologue at the beginning did not quite hit the aim of a powerful emotional starter; the actor was an obvious amateur who needs to brush up his acting. He just did not have that compelling or wow factor, the kind you feel when you listen to a heartfelt monologue. The film score at beginning was distracting; thankfully it became even as the movie progressed.

If you have seen or when you eventually see this short film, there is a strong probability that you would have wanted the moviemaker to go a certain direction that he didn’t (a lot of people at the screening did). That doesn’t necessarily make the movie terrible. It just means that we have a long road ahead in trying to make our struggles heard through Nollywood or other similar platform.

Hell Or High Water also manages to touch on issues that affect us on a daily basis, however brief the highlights may have been – issues such as love, marriage, co-parenting, religion, family drama, deliverance/exorcism, chemistry with the opposite sex, internet scandals, depression and the saddening fact that homophobes would forget every single good deed you have ever done once they know who you really are.

Rating: 6/10 – The story wasn’t exactly mind-blowing but it was relatable. It should have been done better but we will take whatever we can get. The performances given by Enyinna Nwigwe, Tubosun Aiyedun and Chika Okeke were the standouts. The cinematography was equally good.

TIERs has done a decent and commendable job, and hopefully there will be more to come. On a final note, the actors were all open-minded enough to want to do a movie like this, and for that, they have my respect. I don’t want to know or care if anyone of them bats for our team or is deeply closeted. With the kind of country we find ourselves in, they all took a risk with their career. And that is commendable.

Written by Eli Gold

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  1. Mandy
    April 20, 07:57 Reply

    I just have one question: was the average Nigerian gay man misrepresented in the film? By that I mean, the usual narrative that he was delivered of his homosexual demons?
    PS: I truly applaud these actors who took this gamble on being a part of an LGBT project, however small.

  2. Mitch
    April 20, 07:59 Reply

    Abeg when and where will I be able to download a clear version? Cinema no dey Enugu again.

    • Pink Panther
      April 20, 08:01 Reply

      In good time. I will make that information available when it’s time.

    • michael
      April 20, 14:16 Reply

      Emm.. There is Genesis delux. Abi them Don shut down?

      • Delle
        April 20, 20:56 Reply

        Yes, GDC was shut down months back.

  3. Colossus
    April 20, 11:04 Reply

    Can we have a detailed review of the sex scene? Feel free to leave nothing out. Thank you.

    • JustJames
      April 20, 13:03 Reply

      No sex scene, they didn’t even kiss. I guess that would have been too much for the actors. We however got to see the main guy attempting to shag his wif and it seemed pretty convincing to me.

      But the chemistry between him and his lover was there. Really touched me (in my heart, not elsewhere).

    • JBoy
      April 20, 13:55 Reply

      No need, there was none.

  4. A-non
    April 20, 11:14 Reply

    Uncle Colossus, na wa unto you this morning o!

  5. Colossus
    April 20, 11:21 Reply

    “Initially, I felt as though there was no chemistry between the two male leads who were purportedly in a relationship once upon a time, but then came the bedroom scene, and that was enough to change my mind. That would also be the part that’d make a homophobe seeing this movie cringe. But who cares?”

    One does not get to write that without further elaboration.

    • JBoy
      April 20, 14:03 Reply

      Yes! Colossus, the Chemistry was real as they sat, on the bed, underneath the duvet and talked about ‘them’.

      Eli Gold did a great review. Kudos!

  6. Jaiice
    April 20, 12:42 Reply

    Pls guys is the movie out in the cinemas or how do I get to watch it?

    • JBoy
      April 20, 13:58 Reply

      The movie premier is around the corner…in some weeks time. You will know when all is fully in place.

  7. Absalom
    April 20, 14:26 Reply

    So the two guys did not kiss???? I said it!!!! This film must be re-acted. I no gree!

  8. Geeluv
    April 20, 16:31 Reply

    Absalom… just assume say them kiss and enjoy the other parts of the movie…

    • Delle
      April 20, 21:07 Reply

      Really, Gee? Please, my imaginative prowess isn’t that splendid, I cannot imagine them kiss when they didn’t even as much as peck each other. Not watching this movie! *folds arms and pouts*

  9. Icandy
    March 07, 19:23 Reply

    Yeah, kudos to the lead actors.

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