Director & Producer – Chioma Onyenwe
Cast – Bimbo Akintola, Wale Ojo, Linda Ejiofor, Ibukun (IBK) SpaceshipBoi, Ade Bantu and Kehinde Bankole.
The premiere of 8 Bars & A Clef had been making the waves and I decided to go see it at the cinemas. I walked into FilmHouse cinema hall to a handful of people and even though the movie had kicked off, I settled in perfectly to the movie.
“8 Bars and A Clef,” chronicles the rise to grace of a talented act, Victor E played by first timer in the industry IBK Spaceship Boi
(like what? What kind of name is that for a musician in 2016?) The young rapper battles a learning disability, a dysfunctional home, betrayal and still makes it in the Nigerian music industry.
With what I encountered from the production, it somewhat reeked of poor sound quality. In fact, the sound quality of the production was horrible from beginning to the end. The soundtrack which also made rounds was one I listened out for but couldn’t pick, as the movie progressed. Soundtrack generally was a mix of situations happening in the movie but seemed to halt at some point making the production dry and unnecessarily long at certain scenes.
IBK Spaceboi plays the lead in this production and even though no other actor comes to mind for this role, he didn’t totally work for me. He seemed to be tense, with loads on his mind – rather than relaxed. The only times he felt one with his role was when he was making out, or apologetic to his girlfriend. He was obviously portraying a character with a disability, but I would definitely like to know who he observed, what sort of research he did or who he got in contact with to get into his character. The younger Victor wasn’t bad, his struggle to gain his mother’s trust, help his sister and be the man of the house was one with him. His attempt at learning how to speak felt weak and unrelatable but his struggle to make ends meet was well appreciated and carried out nicely.
Wale Ojo took on the role of ‘The Fixer’
(well that was what was on the door) never in my life, before series like Scandal and Ray Donovan have I seen a name tag called “Fixer” as in really? Words fail me in describing this role; while I like Wale Ojo, the relevance of his role was lost on me. If he was a shrink, I fail to see what he brought to the life of Victor E – who seemed to figure things out by himself or basically when his sister died.
Linda Ejiofor stumbled on some of her lines making it difficult to reconcile the actress from other good productions she has featured in. As a talent hunter, she was one with her character; as a lover, girlfriend and eventual confidant of Victor E’s sister, she pulled off the role okay.
The story which leads to the script seemed clear, but the script itself was missing the right elements! There was a thought that the movie was going to focus on the illness, which is dyslexia and how people suffering from it can get help; but if the ideal help to get is in the person of Wale Ojo, I am sure people would rather remain with the disease. The scenes to help build this case and shine a light on people living with dyslexia felt like hot pancake that had been scoop from the pan in quick succession. Lines felt like acts were counting, while sound recording like I mentioned at the beginning was pretty crass.
As it relates to directing, Chioma Onyenwe is a relative newbie and can be forgiven. There was no notable angle or anything out of the ordinary that stood out, so she still has a lot of room to improve, as well as master the act of casting the right characters for the right roles.
Makeup and costumes, especially costumes, could have been better for the musician Victor E. The scene where his sister was nearing death just freaked me out. Gloves!
(not surgical, but those outing gloves) Her makeup was also a right off and that is another area that requires loads of work.
8 Bars & A Clef isn’t for viewers with little or no patience for Nollywood antics, guess that’s why I am saving you the trouble.
Have you seen 8 Bars & A Clef? Tell me what you think in the comments section.