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‘Blacksmith (Alágbède)’: A Familiar Trope in a New Timeline

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After watching the trailer, we were struck by the simplicity and intelligence of the story in Blacksmith (Alágbède), which left us with lingering questions, building anticipation to experience the full narrative on screen. And like we say in Yoruba, “a lọ, a bọ; a o ba ọmọ jẹ,” we went (to the cinemas) and we’re back (with our thoughts). Was Blacksmith (Alágbède) a good watch? Fun fact: no disastrous spoilers.

Blacksmith (Alagbede)

Directed by: Usman Ogunlade
Written by: Fimisola Adejonwo
Produced by: Jaiye Kuti
Genre: Drama
Released on: April 19, 2024 (Cinema)
Language: Yoruba


Set in the early 1960/70s, after Nigeria’s independence, we follow the story of Adio (Femi Adebayo). Supported by his steadfast companion, Wole (Gabriel Afolayan), they embark on a mission to change the course of their impoverished lives. Adio’s profound love for Omolewa (Kehinde Bankole), a talented young woman, serves as his driving force. Thus, Adio finds his fingers deliberately dipped into embers of money rituals, which scourge both his romantic and platonic relationships.


Blacksmith (Alagbẹdẹ) is a film where the plot moves in waves, like the ebb and flow of the ocean tide, never reaching extreme highs or lows, but maintaining a steady rhythm throughout. Intermingled with this rhythm are moments of comedy, and bursts of playful energy, keeping you engaged with a smile at sometimes, the right places. Although some parts may feel hurried, the overall experience is enjoyable, leaving you feeling entertained and slightly unsatisfied.

The Cinema Experience

I feel compelled to highlight the importance of rigorous screening processes for cinemas before showcasing films. While viewing the film, it became evident that it boasted promising and well-produced audio. However, the quality of the cinema itself fell short, detracting from the overall enjoyment of the movie. I believe cinemas must ensure their facilities do justice to the hard work and effort put into producing films.

Technical Aspects

The visuals were decent, though not perfect. I find myself drawn to the lighting in night-shot scenes, particularly asking this question: what decisions were made to achieve a believable night scene? And, they didn’t fall short. Natural lighting from candles, lanterns, and yellow fluorescent lights reminiscent of early light systems was used. Ah, what a relief that no questionable lighting was coming from who-knows-where. And thus, creating an immersive cinematic experience for the audience.

However, there were instances of excessive jump cuts that seemed unnecessary and didn’t contribute to the story. Despite this flaw, it didn’t significantly detract from the overall narrative, possibly serving the purpose of curbing potential continuity errors.

This story was set in the backdrop of the early 1970s, and I must commend the film crew for their meticulous attention to detail in costume and set design, effectively transporting the audience into the past. While the cinematography fell short of fully capturing the grandeur of each scene, opting instead to simply narrate the story, it still managed to maintain engagement with believability.

On a different note, the makeup used for the female cast raised some eyebrows, as it appeared to employ modern-day styles that slightly detracted from the authenticity of the period. Although it was a subtle flaw, it did not significantly impact the overall experience.

For a film solely in Yoruba, the subtitles proved lacking, failing to convey the dialogue for non-Yoruba speakers accurately. Numerous instances were left untranslated, leaving gaps in comprehension. Furthermore, the Yoruba spoken lacked the authenticity of the era and sounded more akin to modern-day vernacular. Despite these shortcomings, the film remains moderately acceptable for comprehension.


Creating believable and relatable characters hinges on establishing a driving force within each character. In this regard, the film does a commendable job, thanks to the scriptwriter’s efforts in fleshing out the motivations of both the lead and supporting characters. The script was not just plot-driven, but from an eponymous title, we’re able to understand that the story is also character-driven.

Wole’s conviction that poverty equates to a fate worse than death, is one that Adio equally believes. Adio’s relentless pursuit of a better life, fueled by his deep love for Omolewa, adds depth to his character. This shared sense of purpose forms the bedrock of their friendship. As Wole grapples with feelings of resentment towards Adio later in the story, his transformation from a supportive ally to a conflicted antagonist; having been plagued by the ‘supporting character syndrome’ breaks out of his predicament quite intelligently, becoming the ‘annoying-villian-that-you-still-bias-over’. Which feels justified, given Adio’s slight deviation from their shared worldview.

Gabriel Afolayan deserves praise for his brilliant portrayal of Wole, capturing the nuances of his character with finesse. Making us slightly root for him even when he’s clearly in the wrong. Additionally, the film features a talented ensemble cast, including Jide Kosoko (Omolewa’s father), Mr. Macaroni (Akala, Adio’s blacksmith colleague), Elesho, Jaiye Kuti, and Fathia Balogun (Omolewa’s mother) who deliver strong performances, albeit with a few instances of slight exaggeration.

Kehinde Bankole deserves applause for her remarkable talent in leading audiences through an emotional journey in this film. Her portrayal showing the dichotomy of love and moral sacrifice, captivates viewers and fosters a deep resonance with her character. However, compared to her previous performances, it appears that editing and directorial decisions may have hindered her performance from surpassing the excellence seen in this film. Nonetheless, her performance remains commendable and impactful.

Final Thoughts

While the film exhibits moments of rushed pacing, particularly towards the conclusion where viewers are meant to immerse themselves in the emotional depth of the scenes, it regrettably falls short in allowing ample time for these sentiments to resonate. As a result, the highs and lows of the narrative are moderated, leading to a sense of just being “okay.”


Blacksmith (Alagbede) has Good writing but unsatisfactory implementation, brilliant acting with an interesting story but a rushed ending. Also, a good cinema experience filled with moderate comedy to keep you glued to the screen. A 3 out of 5 is befitting.

Rating: 3/5

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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