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‘Saving Onome’: A Tale of Love and Sacrifice Marred By Fall-Flat Narrative

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saving onome

Saving Onome’. The title is pretty straightforward, isn’t it? Well, just for clarity: we’re diving headfirst into a tale all about rescuing a certain Onome.

But wait. Hold onto your seats. Because it’s not just about Onome herself. Nope. It’s a rollercoaster ride through the process, with the characters who join the mission to save her.

This journey takes unexpected turns, introducing a diverse cast of characters and delving into the intricate process involving parental love and sacrifice. However, amidst the occasional peaks, more frequent valleys, and all the drama, a question arises: does this narrative approach truly align with the film’s intended vision and purpose?

So, we’ve taken the initiative to watch it first for you. Here are our thoughts. And, fun fact: no destructive spoilers that spoil the fun!

Saving Onome

Directed by: Dimeji Ajibola
Produced by: Stephen Oluboyo
Genre: Crime Drama
Released on: April 5, 2024 (Cinemas)
Language: English

Story

Onome, the daughter of Tola (acted by Nancy Isime) and Jite (acted by Olumide Oworu), suffers from chronic illness. But, her parents face a daunting challenge: they lack the funds needed for her expensive medical expenses. As they desperately fight to save their daughter’s life, they find themselves entangled in a web of difficult decisions, where each choice they make carries weighty consequences.

Plot

The story unfolds in a linear narrative flowing from the perspectives of the parents. As mentioned earlier, while Onome remains the central focus, the narrative primarily delves into the decisions the parents face as they strive to help her.

The Cinema Experience

Upon viewing the trailer on a mobile device and encountering shoddy sound quality, I initially presumed it to be an issue with my device’s speakers, which seemed unusual. But, when I hit the cinema and the same fuzzy audio hit my ears, I knew it wasn’t just me. Despite the booming bass in the cinema trying to drown out the tinny pitches, the inferior audio still cut through, leaving me thinking, “Yep, definitely a recording oopsie.” Subsequently, we all had to sit through it, from the beginning to the end.

Technical Aspects

The writer’s deliberate focus on Jite delivering a voice-over about the complexities of tough decision-making in high-stakes situations was quite brilliant. Jite finds himself in a tough situation in the opening scene, foreshadowing future occurrences. While the voice-over effectively highlighted the theme of making questionable sacrifices in tight situations,  the car chase sequence was quite tolerable. It wasn’t enough to captivate the audience.

Although the editing techniques effectively convey urgency, hand-held shots add tension. The chase scene just lacked the expected adrenaline rush, missing an opportunity to engage the audience from the start emotionally. It was fair, but not enough. So, right from the opening scene, even with a smart opening voice-over, they missed a prime opportunity to truly engage the audience emotionally and draw them into the story. Still, we’re able to get the crux of the story and subsequently, are somewhat moved.

Acting

Kelechi Udegbe’s portrayal of “Skyscraper” was truly noteworthy, showcasing his exceptional acting prowess. He skillfully embodied the essence of a typical Disney villain, albeit with a subtler touch, which added depth and intrigue to his character. His villainous mannerisms, including menacing huffs and sly laughs, were executed with such precision, that left a lasting impression.

While Udegbe impressively embodied a nuanced villain, Isime and Oworu also delivered commendable performances, showcasing their acting prowess. Oworu’s transition from portraying a pampered last-born in “A Tribe Called Judah” to embodying a father figure in “Saving Onome” demonstrates his impressive range and skillful acting abilities.

However, Isime’s portrayal may have been hindered by her established branding and image, as a chic modern-day influencer. So, seeing her as a chic mother (well, in some scenes makes sense) with her pink short hair in the opening scene, while possibly unrelated to the plot, could affect the audience’s believability of her character. While it does serve a purpose in depicting a mother under immense stress, it somewhat detracts from the raw emotion the character should evoke. Isime appears well-kept and put together, which slightly diminishes the urgency and gravity of the situation. Similarly, Oworu’s appearance seems overly groomed, further distancing the audience from the intensity of the scenario.

“Saving Onome” stars a talented cast including Mercy Lazarus, Femi Jacobs, Keppy Ekpenyoung, Nosa Rex, Michelle Raccah, and Lawal ‘Nasboi’ Bolaji for comic relief. While each actor delivered their roles effectively, Nasboi’s humor gave some audiences a few laughs.

Final Thoughts

While the film manages to explore themes of family, love, sacrifice, and tough decisions, there are moments where the narrative feels too convenient. However, the underlying focus on the enduring love between Jite and Tola, and their willingness to prioritize their relationship amidst adversity, is a poignant aspect.

Yet, the execution and potential oversaturation of themes may inadvertently convey a sense of “silly love,” detracting from the deeper emotional resonance the film aims to achieve. Instead, the framework of the film did just this: incorporated philanthropy into the storyline (though convenient to merely serve the narrative) they cleverly manipulated the audience’s (exactly like the characters in the film) sympathies, compelling them to root for flawed Jite and Tola while guiding them through a morally complex journey. Ironically, not everyone can eat up such a conveniently contrived narrative.

Verdict

“Saving Onome” relied heavily on a conveniently constructed plot to deliver a predictable, feel-good ending, seemingly serving as a vehicle for the filmmakers’ philanthropic agenda. While their commendable acts of philanthropy are notable, it’s challenging to fully invest in the narrative presented in the film, as it feels contrived and lacking in authenticity. A moderate 2.5 out of 5 would suffice.

Rating: 2.5/5

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
One response to “‘Saving Onome’: A Tale of Love and Sacrifice Marred By Fall-Flat Narrative”
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