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Spoiler free review of Living in Bondage (Breaking Free)

Living in Bondage (Breaking Free), a film written by Nicole Asinugo and C.J. Obasi, directed by Ramsey Nouah, an ensemble cast and produced by Steve Gukas, what a time to be alive. From the moment the film was announced, I started counting down the days to its release. My excitement wasn’t just about the people behind it but also my love for the occult and supernatural genre as well as its connection to its era defining predecessor. Living in Bondage (Breaking Free) had everything to be a great film and it surely didn’t disappoint.

Without further ado, let’s get into the review.

Story

The occult genre has in recent times been abandoned by mainstream Nollywood and left to half-baked home videos, so I was skeptical about how the story will appeal to a 21st century audience. My fears were however allayed as the story felt fresh and refined. While critics wold say it feels all too familiar, well maybe because it’s a sequel to one of the greatest Nollywood films ever. More so the story stayed true to the original and kicked off with the Okekes at the centre of the fight between the forces of good and evil. Genuinely Felt like a sequel.

Writing

The script which was written by Nicole Asinugo and C.J. Obasi was the real star of the show. The writing told the plot excellently as it successfully stated true to the Kenneth Nnebue and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor’s original story. The script was so well written that even if you haven’t seen the original film, you’ll get much more than idea of what happened, and this it did without flashbacks. Obasi’s expertise in the supernatural genre also showed in the way the occult world was depicted for a 21st century audience. You could tell that the writers enjoyed working on the script and their writing definitely made Nouah’s directing much more easier.

Directing

For a directorial debut, Ramsey Nouah should be applauded. This was obviously a passion project and Nouah definitely did his homework both on the living in bondage story and art of directing. There was never a dull moment, the storytelling was clear and precise and the audience was carried along from start to finish. The pacing was also a high point in Nouah’s directing, no scene dragged unnecessarily. Once the meaning of a scene is established, the film moves on. While this won’t be Ramsey Nouah’s best work as a director but this effort is quite commendable.

Acting

With such an ensemble cast, you expect nothing but legendary acting. However the stand out performers were Swanky JKA who played main character Nnamdi Okeke and Ramsey Nouah who played occult leader Richard Williams. Swanky was meant for this role as he showed great emotional depth which only few mainstream actors can boast of. Ramsey is one of the best actors in the world in my opinion, and his performance here further attests to that. He was seamless, especially as he spoke both mandarin and igbo with ease. Nouah was also so believing as the evil and menacing occult leader, the room felt a bit colder whenever he showed up. You won’t find better acting anywhere elsewhere.

Themes

The film’s major themes were the Supernatural, family, quest for wealth, love and redemption. Thanks to the script and directing, all themes were given equal treatment and detail, and they all worked hand in hand in delivering a compelling, thought provoking and enjoyable drama.

Music and score

Very few Noolywood movies have delivered such such a befitting score as this movie did. The combination of popular music and an original score made for one of the best film music I’ve seen in recent times, hell I would even like to download the playlist. At no point the the music feel amiss.

Special effect

The special effect really stood out in this film, highlighting the the amount of dedication put in. There were no unnecessary sounds and camera movements to set the tone, the effects were brilliantly done with the help of CGI, production design and Nouah’s know how as a director.

Verdict

Ramsey Nouah obviously had a clear vision of what he wanted to do with this film. From his producers to his writers, to his choice of music, to the cast and then his skillful directing it was like the Brazilian National football team in their glory days. Living in Bondage (Breaking Free) is definitely and enjoyable watch that pays true homage to its predecessor, and with the little cliffhanger at the end, we expect another installment of the occult saga.

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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