Nollywood has come a long way. It has evolved from using powder to paint ghosts and using blackcurrant juice as blood to actually competing with the international standard. It is a good thing for the entire industry, and we say kudos to all involved.
However, it is one thing to be able to compete in the big leagues; it is another thing to mentor young ones who can take the industry to another level. This series, Far from Home, did that seamlessly. It assembled the veterans who took on supporting roles and used Gen Z- the young ones- to push the movie, and as a result, what we are seeing is this masterpiece.
Capturing the debauchery of Isale Eko and the class and luxury associated with the other side, this series follows the tale of Ishaya Bello, a morally grey young man who will do anything to achieve his dreams. He initially starts as naïve and innocent, working three jobs and trying to sell his art, but his mother and sister steal his money and are unrepentant about it. Ishaya gets under a lot of pressure and unconsciously decides to mess up everybody’s lives.
Indeed, their lives get messed up badly. Everybody who comes close to him gets worse off. This pressure destroys everything in his way. He cheats and forges his way into Wilmer Academy, a school for the 1% elite. An indirect result of his unhealthy influence on the many susceptible rich kids sees the school building partially catch fire (a result of a drug pandemic caused by Ishaya), students get kidnapped, the power couple breaking up, and gangsters invading the school- all within two weeks!
Is Ishaya a bad influence? Or is he just under a lot of pressure?
This series is character based. That is one of the things they got right. However, there isn’t much character development. The good characters are good, and the bad characters are worse. There are also redundant characters, like the character of Denrele. I don’t cancel characters. Rather, I try to see the reason why someone was cast. There were so many anti-heroes here that creating Denrele was unnecessary. But at the same time, I don’t know why Denrele’s character resonated with many of us, maybe because most of us have felt a sense of not belonging at one point in our lives.
I guess his character wasn’t so useless after all. The dude went through it all in this series., from being emotionally and verbally abused by his father, losing the scholarship to the maid’s son, feeling invisible (no one even bothered to know his name), and not having friends to being tased just because he was standing around. His character may be useless, but I think he was the most important and well-rounded character ever created.
There is a lot of bad parenting going on. Ishaya’s mother most especially takes the heat in this one. She not only steals his money but also kicks him out in his time of need. She refuses to allow her husband to paint and fend for the family, blaming him for her son’s death as if he did not lose the use of his legs too.
Another bad parent is Denrele’s dad. He verbally abuses his son, insults him at every opportunity he has, and buys exam answers for him to enter the school. Atlas’ mum is more absent than ever. She is just never available for her son, emotionally and otherwise. She prefers holding on to the fringes of her social status. And when she is asked how she will pay her son’s fees, she resorts to blackmail.
Parents need to do better.
Points of discontent
Apart from this, there are some things I really don’t understand.
A typical example is Adufe’s character. She goes from a teenager dating another teenager to being a stripper, catching the wandering eye of a gang leader to being the gang leader’s woman. Suddenly, she is organizing kidnaps, overthrowing the gang leader, and keeping him locked up in his hyena’s cage.
Since the school authorities know Ishaya cheated, why didn’t they quietly expel him, saving them the trouble of all the stress? And why did the creators of this series fit him into the school smugly like a glove?
A boy from Isale Eko is in the midst of rich kids, and there is no struggle whatsoever to fit in. How?
Ishaya steals N150,000, and two gang leaders come to his house to harass his family, but Joe steals drugs worth millions, and he is forgotten like that. How?
Ishaya confesses to Frank to know about his kidnap, and he confesses his other crimes too. And they all forgive him. Frank even allows his family to stay in his house to divert Rambo’s attention and wrath from them. How?
An ambulance comes to pick up and drop off Ishaya’s father. Is that even realistic in Nigeria? Rahila wears a cone-shaped birthday hat with candles and a cake. Is that how we celebrate birthdays in the trenches? Oga Rambo storms Wilmer Academy with thugs. But these thugs are dressed in corporate shirts and trousers with leather belts. And they are carrying tasers! Government, a gang leader, and his drug pusher accomplice both speak posh English and look refined. Perhaps they are trying to copy the Russian mob bosses we love to hate and hate to love. We won’t know.
Far from Home is not a bad watch. If you can look past these plot holes the size of Texas, you will see a compelling story with a perfect cast.
Cast members include Mike Afolarin, Natse Jemide, Genoveva Umeh, Olumide Oworu, Elma Mbadiwe, Tomi Ojo, Gbubemi Ejeye, Moshood Fattah, Emeka Nwagbaraocha, Ruby Okezie, Raymond Umuenze, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Funke Akindele, Bimbo Akintola, Caroline King, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Bolanle Ninalowo, Deyemi Okanlawon, Bucci Franklin, Chioma Chukwuka-Akpota, Yemi Black, Oge Okoye, Jumoke George, Linda Suleiman, Ibrahim Suleiman, Ufuoma McDermott, Femi Branch, Rotimi Salami, Oribabhor Dickson as the enigmatic Baido, amongst others.