Soòlé is a relatable story of regular Nigerian lives told on a moving-bus

Omoleye Omoruyi
“Soòlé” makes a difference, though, as moving-bus movies are not shot often, and it takes an extraordinary production to make it happen…
Soòlé
Soòlé

When you begin to watch “Soòlé” as a Catholic, you wonder why a nun travels all the way from Enugu to Lagos to request funds for an orphanage, remembering that the church has deaneries and dioceses.

Then you see the Reverend Father asking the nun to “make do with what you have, right? The children will be fine,” asking the nun to go back empty-handed and you are worried that the storytelling is almost inaccurate.

However, what answers your questions is the issue raised in that second scene: the extraordinary rise of inflation in the country. “…and the galloping inflation in the country,” the reverend tells the nun.

"Soòlé" makes a difference, though, as moving-bus movies are not shot often, and it takes an extraordinary production to make it happen. "Soòlé" is a 1 hour and 58 minutes movie, released November 26, 2021, directed by Kayode Kasum and produced by Adunni Ade and Lou-Ellen Clara. 

Lead Cast in “Soòlé”

  • Sola Sobowale – Ifeoma
  • Femi Jacobs – Ifebuchi
  • Meg Otanwa – Justina
  • Adunni Ade – Sister Veronica
  • Adedimeji Lateef – Julius
  • Shawn Faqua – Driver
  • Kelechi Udegbe – Ryder
  • Ikponmwosa Gold – Pastor Oko
  • Soibifaa Dokubo – Yinusa

Plot

“Soòlé” (Rough English translation: cheap pick up) follows the story of Veronica, who travels from Enugu to Lagos to seek funds for an orphanage, but is sent back empty-handed and has to make do with cheap transportation back to Enugu.

Am I better than those that do [enter soòlé]?” Veronica tells the driver, who takes her to the cheap vehicle park.

On her way, on the luxury bus, she experiences what some people write a book for: the activities of a criminal mastermind, including a poorly planned robbery. At some point, too, she realises the existence of a baby factory and insists on helping the girls who have been forced to become baby-producing employees.

Soòlé
Soòlé

What we see at the end is a nun who is happy to go home with ‘dirty’ cash just to fund the orphanage and make the kids happy.

Reverend, these children need to feel loved. They need to be included in the festive period,” will be Veronica‘s excuse to sing and dance at the acquisition of the dirty cash.

Besides the story, some interesting characters helped the story have life. Let’s name some of them:

Read also: “Brotherhood” is Nollywood’s best attempt at an action film… with a poor dose of dialogue

Characters in “Soòlé”

Veronica: The nun. The one who bothers about how children will spend the festive period and insists on helping the girls at the baby factory but is not bothered about dirty money acquisition. Her character tells us that people in ‘holy clothing’ can have more sins to their name than strippers at nightclubs.

Modesty is overrated,Veronica says to a ripped-jean spaghetti top wearing Justina. How interesting. She covers that mysterious comment with, “Books are meant to be judged by their covers. That is why they are there.

She is two personalities indeed!

Driver: The one who is unrelatable and stupid to agree to transport a bag, and the receiver’s number will be unavailable until he gets to the destination. He is the idiot who would rather do cheap pickup than fill up his bus at the park.

Soòlé
Soòlé

Justina: The virgin dressed like a social individual and sells sex toys. She eventually partners with Veronica to start helping young girls in distress.

Ifebuchi: The character who saves the day, runs away with all the stolen money but shares some months later. He is an opinionated character and is the one to make comments on the illicit activities of supposed pastors in Nigeria.

This man just insulted all of you, cursed you, told you were going to die and go to hell…what is wrong with people in this country,” he says to people in the bus giving the preacher money ‘for his ministry.

You have no modicum of integrity. You are a thief.

He says to the pastor.

Meanwhile, he is a man with magical powers.

He also makes reference to respectability norms in Africa and current trends, especially with Gen Z.

Yinusa: brings out a bow and arrow when it was needed, but he did not seem to wear this or own this before the scene. His mastery of weapons is typical of Fulani nomads though. We just need more reality with such mastery.

Soòlé
Soòlé

Ifeoma: This one brings the plot twist – or how they wanted it to look – to the movie but is killed so easily, and does not have the juju or Plan B to escape from a situation.

The issues raised

The existence of baby factories in Nigeria: often disguised as orphanages, maternity homes or religious centres, baby factories are a phenomenon, and while the government has made efforts to end the menace, it has different dimensions and continues to thrive.

Inflation: “Soòlé” is a 2021 movie but subtly raises the issue of rising inflation which was 20.77% as of September 2022.

What women/men want: An unending conversation. “Soòlé” raises the issues of what drives women in their quest for partnership and what they really need.

Ehn Uncle, if you hammer like this ehn, she go forgive you,” Justina says to Sylvanus (Jide Blaze Oyegbile).

Another comment makes Justina’s opinion more interesting.

If we are being honest, you don’t even really need her forgiveness. You just have to provide for the family, and that’s all.

Maxwell (Mike Folarin)

Maxwell adds that “women have the luxury of not bothering about money. Men don’t.”

He doesn’t mean to offend anybody, he says, but that’s a big conversation, and this review will not cover the ‘offence’ in such a comment.

There are other issues raised in “Soòlé” but you will have to watch it to see them.

What do we think?

Oh my! There were elongated scenes in “Soòlé” that dragged the movie longer than it should be. You can almost imagine the magnificence of that story as a short film. But no, Nollywood no dey hear the word. An instance is a scene where John wants to alight from the luxury bus and the dialogue and struggle drag for a long time.

We get a scene where Ifeoma is screaming at Ryder…”I go blind you, you dey craze…” It goes on and on, irritably.

As with many Nollywood movies, the dialogue does not have any substance, which makes you wonder why the wit in everyday conversations of Nigerians is not considered in Nollywood. If you attempt to speak for the industry and argue for simplicity, you will be biting your own navel.

Besides, that is a flashback that elaborately distorts the flow of the story. You are definitely going to rewind or wonder how we got to the story of Ifebuchi as a young man getting spiritual powers. It just goes in and out like a misplaced thread on Twitter. There are better ways of connecting timelines and story pieces.

Generally, the story gets disjointed at several points. I mean, the movie ends, and no one understands where the money came from and who it was really for. Then, the driver wakes up 11 months after he was shot. God abeg!

Meanwhile, overdramatisation is a regular phenomenon in Nollywood, and it is quite unnecessary in many instances. We see that with one of the thieves who keeps kicking and kicking for no one reason.

Stream or skip?

First of all, can “Soòlé” be edited so as to erase the part where a man is laughing hysterically like someone in a mental institution? What is the use of that in the story? Also, the part where a female student is asking Ifebuchi questions is quite awkward.

But, “Soòlé” is relatable as it tells the hurdles regular cross-country passengers face before they get to their destination.

As someone who loves ‘Made in Nigeria’, you can stream, but don’t expect the spectacular at any point.


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