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Alaye: A Perpetual Paradox of Star Power Overshadowing Quality

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When Alaye was released, it was surprising to see it trending as the number one film in Nigeria on Prime. I mean, what was all the buzz about? How did this film climb to the top spot on its release day? Not just that. How did it remain Number 1 in Nigeria for the next four days?

Curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to watch it. To my dismay, I found myself struggling to understand the hype. Numerous aspects got me thinking. And it only leads to one thing.


Directed by: Okey Ifeanyi
Produced by: Ruth Kadiri
Genre: Rom-Com
Released on: 5 July, 2024 (Prime Video)
Language: English, Pidgin English


The synopsis on Prime Video reads,

“A young lady’s life was thrown into chaos after she lost a loved one. To survive and weather her prevailing situation, she got mixed up with men from the underworld. With her life hanging in the balance, love was the least she expected to find.”

From this, we understand the story is centered on romance with high stakes. Does the film meet this standard? Not really. Instead, it veers into comedy, revealing itself in the absurdity of it all. The unbelievability of the characters’ romance spurs from the writing and the dynamics of their love.


The film follows a linear plot but undermines its own suspense by prematurely disclosing crucial information in the synopsis. While the synopsis suggests a gradual unveiling of key elements for dramatic effect, Alaye fails to maintain this suspense within the film itself. The premature revelation of important details reduces the overall engagement and impact of the story.

For instance, why the protagonist found herself entangled with the ‘underworld’ could have been a compelling mystery, yet the film prematurely divulges these details in the synopsis. This diminishes the film’s suspense and engagement, as the main reasons behind the protagonist’s entanglement with the underworld are revealed too early. Instead, it leads to confusion, and therefore, it loses suspense value. The initial attempt to arouse viewer curiosity falls flat as the plot fails to sustain engagement.

Technical Aspects

What makes this film a great disservice is its poor visual appearance. The cinematography is good, but all other aspects look good for YouTube standards, not Prime.

From the very first scene, Alaye presents glaring issues with its lighting and color grading. This immediately detracts from its visual appeal and becomes a big turn-off for viewers.

To add salt to injury, the film’s visual consistency is lacking, oscillating between moments of decent cinematography and others marred by poor lighting and inconsistent visual quality. Too much grammar. Simply put, it had an inconsistent film look. This inconsistency further undermines the film’s overall impact, contributing to a disjointed viewing experience.

Another opportunity to make itself better is this: capitalizing on the comedic genre it aims to embody. Sadly, it neglects opportunities for effective visual storytelling which could enhance comedic timing and provoke laughter through simple, clever camera work. Instead, the cinematography adheres to conventional methods, missing chances to creatively engage the audience.


Ruth Kadiri takes on the role of the protagonist, Christine, portraying her usual elite, classy character. Her performance in Alaye is consistent with her previous roles, offering nothing new or particularly memorable.

Samuel Perry (Broda Shaggi) brings his signature comedic persona to the film, albeit with a slight twist. Alaye provides him an opportunity to explore the emotional depth of his character, Funmi. While his humor is evident, his usual crassness might not appeal to everyone. Nevertheless, his established reputation and following contribute significantly to the film’s viewership.

Aloma Isaac Junior (Zic Saloma) is miscast as a menacing figure. Despite efforts to develop his character with unique costumes and a quirky hairstyle, these attempts feel awkward due to poor writing, making his character come across as odd rather than interesting. Better still, he comes off as more cute than intimidating. This misalignment is evident from the first scene and undermines the initial impression Christine is supposed to have of him. His character development feels lacking and unconvincing.

Rose Afuwape’s portrayal of Eve, Christine’s friend, falls flat and lacks believability, likely due to her underwhelming acting. In contrast, Monica Friday’s performance as Tega, Funmi’s crass counterpart, is commendable and well-balanced, providing a good complement to Broda Shaggi’s character. Eddie Watson as Ben, Christine’s boyfriend, delivers a competent performance, though it doesn’t stand out significantly.

Final Thoughts

Now, here are some side musings on audience dynamics and how it affects film culture in the Nigerian landscape.

But why would filmmakers choose to settle for such low-quality storytelling practices? Well, we’re not using Alaye as a scapegoat of this phenomenon, but as a microcosm of a larger issue within the industry.

The answer may lie in the producer, Ruth Kadiri, who has built a significant following on YouTube by creating morally upright and relatable content. She has really done a good job in creating content that resonates with an audience looking for morally upright films laden with moral lessons. Her massive subscriber base, the largest for any Nigerian YouTube filmmaker, gravitates toward her for this reason. Alaye is her first film transitioning to Prime, and she brought this loyal audience with her, which explains the film’s immediate success on the platform.

Kadiri’s popularity highlights a broader issue in the industry: the reliance on established followings and star power to drive viewership, often at the expense of quality. This trend can lead to a deterioration in overall film standards, as audiences become conditioned to accept subpar content due to their attachment to popular figures.

This doesn’t mean she’s not doing a good job, but it’s a silent conditioning that can be observed.

It’s a familiar scenario in the Nigerian film industry: many films thrive on the followership of popular figures rather than on their inherent quality. Instead of prioritizing and appreciating films that adhere to high industry standards, we often see subpar productions that simply cater to the mass majority.

This creates a challenging cycle to break. Audiences have become accustomed to a certain level of quality and are often reluctant to demand better. They are content with films that meet their basic expectations, making it difficult for filmmakers to deviate from the norm and produce compelling, high-quality stories. Consequently, mediocre films receive more publicity and viewership than truly exceptional ones, perpetuating a culture of lowered expectations.

It’s a great stepping stone Ruth Kadiri moving from YouTube to Prime. This is a sign of growth. Over the years, she has shown growth in her storytelling techniques, and we believe she will continue to improve.


One might argue that the technical aspects weren’t entirely terrible. And that’s true to an extent. However, the issue lies in the fact that the standards suitable for YouTube content were applied to a Prime release. The aspect ratio and color grading, which work for YouTube, fall short on Prime.

Rating: 1.5/5

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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