Original Title: Road to Yesterday
Director: Ishaya Bako
The Nigeria national team play unofficially since 1930 and officially since 1949, while still a British colony.
Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about Nigerian history to talk more about its political affairs and their correlation with their football team. For the sake of time I’ll leave it like it is, but when the theme reoccurs I will be ready.
I don’t know if the “non-democratic” times in African countries had the huge impact in their football as much as the military dictatorships in South America, something I intend to touch a little bit in future reviews.
Since 1994 Nigeria was only out of the 2006 World Cup, reaching the Round of 16 three times, in 1994, 1998 and 2014. In 2002 and 2010, they were out after the group stage.
Nigeria has important players in the squad, like Obi Mikel, Viktor Moses, Ahmed Musa and the young Kelechi Iheanacho and with this interesting team, we can only hope for good matches in the group.
Seeing two young forwards like Leicester’s Iheanacho and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi, both born in 1996, make me cheer for a bright future for Nigeria.
Like in 2014, Nigeria is going to face Argentina in the group, but this time the other teams in the group can offer much more competition and for this reason, I don’t think Nigeria will reach the knockout stage.
Like I said, let’s at least hope for good matches.
Road to Yesterday was directed by Ishaya Bako, a young Nigerian director who was 28 when the movie was released, he also shares the credit for the script with Emil B. Garuba.
The film was based in a Genevieve Nnaji’s story, who is also the lead actress, sharing the screen with Oris Erhuero who looks like the former NBA player Michael Olowokandi, who is also Nigerian.
Like the title suggests it’s a road trip movie, with Nnaji and Erhuero portraying a couple going to a village for a funeral while going through serious conflicts in their marriage.
It’s a very straightforward and quite short movie, with 1 hour and 31 minutes of length with a quite mediocre result. In this case is good mediocre, not bad mediocre.
I know the word “mediocre” have a bad reputation, but what it really means it’s that something is average, in the middle. Road to Yesterday is exactly that.
The review is mostly without spoilers, but I felt I had to talk about the ending because it is something that might affect some viewers’ judgment of the movie. For that reason, I will put a Warning before and after the spoilers so anyone can avoid it at will.
Genevieve Nnaji is Victoria is living in her mother’s house in England, after having a serious fight with Izu (Oris Erhuero), her husband.
Victoria returns to Nigeria to attend a funeral of Izu’s uncle, in his village, and to talk to Izu in attempt to solve their problems and resume their marriage. Unfortunately, for her, Izu doesn’t seem to have the same desire, so he goes out to drink with friends the night before the trip.
The next day, they start their journey and are forced to talk about how their marriage got to this deplorable situation, with no trust left between the two.
We follow these two characters going on their road trip to some flashbacks showing the birth and evolution of their relationship until the ultimate moment of break up.
We have some beautiful shots on the road, a very clean cinematography, probably my favorite part of the film. Maybe the movie itself is all very clean and polished, and it’s something I usually like, while usually hating visual pollution.
Oris Erhuero gives a great performance, he has a very different approach to the different phases of the character, what is perfect, due to the different moments in the couple’s relationship.
The dialog between them flows naturally, but in other moments of the movie, with other characters, I didn’t feel the same, especially the first scene with Victoria and Onome (Chioma Omeruah).
The feeling I had in these cases were like the actors were just saying their lines without an actual flow of natural conversation.
Sometimes I had the impression that the dialog was automated dialogue replacement, when the actors re-record their dialog to synchronize/replace the audio originally recorded on set. I don’t know if it really was, but it felt odd and got my attention in many moments.
The story is simple and straightforward, it’s about this relationship, not much different than lots of relationships worldwide. Also, about valuing the people with love while they still around us.
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.
BEGINNING OF SPOILERS
The ending was a little of a surprise to me, but nothing I would say “Wow! What a Plot twist”.
During the trip, Izu only interacts with Victoria, while Victoria interacts with other characters, which demonstrates that we are seeing things from Victoria’s perspective.
Close to the ending, we learn that Izu had an accident when coming home after drinking with the friends, 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 with the trip and she filled the dream with elements recently experienced.
To me, her trip was much more like a spiritual event of comprehension and forgiveness rather than a oneiric phenomenon and with that perspective in mind, the ending didn’t make the most of sense to me.
END OF SPOILERS
The story of the couple and the family they put together is beautiful and it’s a little heartbreaking to see it coming apart. I think at other times I would give this movie 7 Moons, but as I grow older I become bitter and severe, so this time I will give 6 Moons.
Also, thumbs up for the young director, Ishaya Bako, he definitely showed quality with this film and will be expecting for good works from him in the future.
With all that said, I think Nigeria has great things to come both in football as in the film industry and I will be watching closely for this development in hopes I don’t get disappointed.