Original Title: Road to Yesterday
Director: Ishaya Bako
Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller
24.01.2020: This review was first published on 22.05.2018 and is being updated for a more complete review, together with the publishing of the YouTube Version.
Hello! Welcome to Ulven Reviews!
The director Ishaya Bako is the one behind the Nigerian movie Road to Yesterday, where a recently split couple tries to mend their relationship in a road trip to a funeral in a village.
World Cup Historic
The Nigerian national team plays unofficial matches since 1930 and official games since 1949, while still a British colony. They got their independence from the Crown in 1960.
Since 1994, their first time playing in the tournament, Nigeria participated in every FIFA World Cup, except for Germany 2006. In their six participations, they classified for the Round of 16 half of the times.
Nigeria went to the 2018 World Cup in Russia with a decent squad, mixing experienced players with young, promising players. They needed only a draw against Argentina in the last match, and the game was 1-1 until the 86th minute when they conceded.
After that, they had the Africa Cup of Nations, in which they reached the semi-finals, losing to the champions Algeria. In the third-place play-off, they faced Tunisia and won, getting the Bronze.
Victoria (played by Genevieve Nnaji) had a severe fight with her husband, Izu (portrayed by Oris Erhuero), so they decided to take a break in the relationship. So, she moved to England to live with her mother for a while.
After some time without seeing each other, the couple has to attend the funeral of an Izu’s uncle, in the village where he grew up. Victoria returns to Lagos to meet Izu, and from there, the two will make a road trip to their destiny.
Victoria views the trip as an opportunity to solve their differences and repair their relationship. Izu, on the other hand, doesn’t want to mend anything and have disregard for Victoria.
Izu goes out drinking with friends at night, so he doesn’t have to spend the night discussing the relationship with Victoria. The following morning, the duo leaves, and during this road trip that we have our movie.
Road to Yesterday
Thumbs up for the director Ishaya Bako. At a young age for a director, he made a decent film, with quality, creating expectations of good works from him in the future. The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is the only other full-length work directed by him so far, but don’t know how it went.
Road to Yesterday is straight forward and short, 1 hour and 31 minutes long with a quite mediocre result. I know this word has a bad reputation, but what it really means it’s that something is ordinary and Road to Yesterday is just that.
The principal theme of the film is life as a family and couple. It passes the message of recognizing the value of those you love while you still have that person in your life, using this couple as a vehicle for it.
During the road trip, we see the bitterness Izu has towards Victoria, so when we see the flashbacks of when they were getting to know each other, and when the relationship was all good, it’s an immense contrast.
Showing these moments of happiness between the two is necessary to make the viewer care about their relationship. Before that, it’s hard to imagine those two as an actual couple.
After knowing everything that happened during their time together, we can understand both sides of the argument, which allows us to have sympathy for both characters. However, I don’t know if I like any of them all that much.
Some things don’t make much sense after it’s all said and done, but it didn’t bother me much, and I can overlook these inconsistencies to buy what the plot was trying to transmit.
The characters are too generic for my taste. It’s like they don’t have anything that makes them individuals, distinguished from any other template-person, except their physical appearance. They look way better than an average person.
Their performance, on the other hand, was substantial. I feel like I’m always praising the actors, but that’s how I perceived their acting, they kept me immersed in the experience, at least the leading duo.
I loved Oris Erhuero’s performance. He seems two different characters in the different phases of the couple’s relationship, reflecting how people change, giving what happens between one another.
The dialog between Izu and Victoria usually flows naturally, but in other moments of the movie, especially with other characters, I didn’t feel the same. For example, the first scene where Victoria is talking with her friend Onome (Chioma Omeruah).
I couldn’t put my finger in the exact reason why the flow of some conversations felt off. It seems like they replaced some dialogues with re-recordings, but I’m not sure if that’s the case.
We have some beautiful shots on the road, with clean cinematography, probably my favorite part of the film. The movie itself is all clean and polished, and it’s something I like while hating visual pollution.
While the movie, in general, is very average, the score is below average. Forgettable, to say the least. It was so generic that I wondered if it would worth talking about it, but I want to create this habit.
BEGINNING OF SPOILERS
The plot twist got me by surprise, but not all that much. It’s nothing crazy or unseen, is the typical it was all a dream type of twist that we know well.
During the trip, Izu only interacts with Victoria, while Victoria interacts with other characters, demonstrating that we are watching things from Victoria’s perspective.
Close to the ending, we learn that Izu had an accident when coming home after his night out, so he was actually in a coma during the whole trip. The people they encountered in the road were actually in the hospital.
We could say that Victoria was dreaming about the trip, and she filled the dream with elements recently experienced. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. Usually, the one having allegorical experiences in this type of movie is the one in a coma, not the healthy one.
The only way to make more sense is if her trip was more like a spiritual event of comprehension and forgiveness rather than a oneiric phenomenon. Still, I think it lacked logic.
END OF SPOILERS
Road to Yesterday is beautiful in appearance and substance, but it had some strange flaws. Upon further reflection, It’s not that much better than You Carry Me, so I will give 6 Moons.