Movie Review: ’76
Movie Title: '76 Director: Izu Ojukwu Release date: November 25, 2016 (Nigeria) Writer: Emmanuel Okomanyi Runtime: 1 hour : 58 minutes
76 is a 2016 Nigerian historical fiction drama film directed by Izu Ojukwu and produced by Adonaijah Owiriwa, Izu Ojukwu, and Tonye Princewill. It tells a story of love and betrayal against the backdrop of a failed coup attempt in 1976.
The story is told from two points of view: that of a young pregnant woman, and that of her husband, a soldier accused of being involved in the failed 1976 military coup and assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, the Head-of-State of Nigeria.IMDb
The film follows Captain Joseph Dewa (Ramsey Nouah), a loyal soldier falsely accused of being part of the plot to assassinate General Murtala Muhammed, the head of state at the time. His pregnant wife Suzy (Rita Dominic) stands by him and tries to prove his innocence, while facing pressure from her family and the military authorities. The film is based on real events and features authentic costumes, props and locations from the period.
The film provides a glimpse into a turbulent chapter in Nigeria’s history that shaped its political and social landscape. The coup attempt of 13 February 1976 was led by Lieutenant Colonel Bukar Suwa Dimka, who claimed to act on behalf of a group of disgruntled army officers. They targeted General Muhammed, who had taken power in a bloodless coup in 1975 and initiated a series of reforms to curb corruption and ethnic rivalry. The plotters ambushed and killed Muhammed and his aide-de-camp in Lagos, but failed to seize control of the government and the radio station. The coup was swiftly crushed by loyalist forces, and Dimka and his co-conspirators were captured and executed after a court martial. Muhammed was succeeded by his deputy, Lieutenant General Olusegun Obasanjo, who continued his policies and oversaw Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1979.
The film is a commendable effort to portray this historical drama with a human touch. The performances of Nouah and Dominic are convincing and engaging, and they convey the emotional turmoil of their characters well. The cinematography and production design are also impressive, creating a realistic and immersive atmosphere of the 1970s. The film uses Super 16mm film to achieve a vintage look that suits the story.
However, the film also suffers from some flaws that undermine its potential. The pacing is slow and uneven, especially in the first half, where the plot takes too long to develop and the characters are not fully fleshed out. The dialogue is sometimes stiff and unnatural, and the sound quality is poor in some scenes. The film also does not provide enough context or explanation for the political situation and the motivations of the coup plotters, which may confuse or alienate viewers who are not familiar with Nigeria’s history. The film could have benefited from more editing and polishing to make it more coherent and compelling.
In conclusion, ’76 is strongly recommended. It’s a window to an inglorious past of a people. Highly immersive story. I believe the director did an excellent job. It took me almost 24 hours before recovering from the nostalgia.
The Director’s Face