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P33ish042: Movie Review - Kemi Adetiba's King Of Boys

The first thing I thought of as Alhaja Salami walked into that room where her goons were holding the bleeding man was Ghost walking into the basement at TRUTH in the pilot episode of Power season one. It just so happened that both characters had left their parties to do the same thing: be evil. I loved the precision in the similarity. It was just so...there; from the 'who you working for', to the language switch, and the blood on the shirt/ipele ish, right down to the bleeding guy's refusal to snitch on who he'd been working for. You better holler at your girl if you caught that math too, TV people.


Despite being a godfatherism/dog-eat-dog story—not unlike many before it—that chronicles the rise-fall-and-whatever-else-followed of the protagonist, Eniola Salami (Sola Sobowale), I think that what takes King Of Boys off the 'typical' list is its realism: that good or evil isn't absolute; that if the line must be drawn, then sometimes 'evil' wins; that the one good apple like Mr. Gobir (Paul Sambo), in a basket full of rotten apples that is the corridors of political power, can do so much and it'd still just be a mere scratch on the surface, and that's if they don't get drowned by the system first; and most importantly, that the fight isn't even always good against evil, sometimes it's straight up evil versus evil and the only option open to all the Gobirs of the world is to shutter up and pick between evils.

You already know that Mr. Gobir is my favorite male KOB character. I love what the writer did with that character: dude literally got real when it mattered most and damn if that ain't a life lesson right there: like, you don't have to join them, but boy you better not be confused about who gon get beat out here. And our boy wasn't confused. The actor is one crispy fine specimen too, though. I mean, that smile? Howly majowly. And ooohhh, that lil cheekiness he tossed Kemi's way in the NCCC front office after he finally nailed Eniola? Too cute. But moving on!

Or maybe not?

I have a thing for languages. And King Of Boys served quite a salad of our three major ones. I particularly find the Hausa language sexy as hell. And then they went and brought Mr Gobir and he be out there all righteous looking like Hebrews eleven-one: the evidence of err'thang a girl been hoping for and whatnot, hallelujah! Hehe. Child, I ain't even gon' try, I couldn't have seen anything wrong with that character even if there was one—not with that face and all that lanky Notherness! My word!! But like I already mentioned, though; my favorite thing about the character is how honest the producers made him in the end, because sometimes even the most righteous of us will just have to suck it up and go with the lesser of two evils.

The flip to the flow that had me figuratively closing my eyes so I can get the taste in KOB was Adesuwa Etomi-Wellington's performance as Kemi Salami, and I wish I could say I got the pepper. No disrespect to her talent, but she just didn't quite bring it home for me with her portrayal of that character — and it's actually a strong one. Dunno, maybe it'd start to jell if I saw more of her in such roles. The "mommy I want to come home" part looked more her, though; but then I reckon that's the point of that particular casting: break that goody-two-shoes role stereotype that people like me have come to associate the actress with. But I think she got the best styling in the movie, though: those dresses and blouses? BAAD.

Being the literal film audience that I am, it's usually the little details, moments and mannerisms that reel me in. It could be how Emeka (Adeolu Adefarasin) says your mom has all these crazy connects, or how Mr. Gobir says all that money scattered in your bank account, or how 20s Eniola (Toni Tones) says I'm not having any condition, I'm having your son. And I had a hard time deciding who took the best care of that for me: Aare (Akin Lewis), or Makanaki (Reminisce), or 20s Eniola. So I went back to watch that original gangster moment when Makanaki swaggered into that underworld meeting and planted a leg on the table as he took Eniola's throne with that who-dey-talk deadpan look on his face: a tight Makanaki moment, that one; absolutely loved it. I also never quite got enough of Toni Tone's O ja mi lara je! in that Eniola holding cell trance; that take is so freaking good to the extent that o ja emi gan lara je walahi talahi. I have, however, not been able to stop saying have you forgotten the presence of whom you are in Aare's accent to everyone in four days, thoughperhaps because my ancestors are lodged in there somewhere; so I'm just going to say that as far as supporting characters go, Aare served me the most mannerisms in one dish, jibiti hand moves and all. That I know how you feel choir-conductor hand moves were particularly hilarious; the freaking old cheat!

And now to the moment you've been waiting for...

Maa wo e kuuurrrrrrrrruuuuurururu!
Maa wo e kaaarrrrraaaaaaaaararara!!
Maa wo e kooorrrrooooooroororo!!! 

Somebody needs to mix them lines in a beat, for real; that's a jam right there, mama even added some okun at'osa dance moves.😅

But for real, though, isn't Sola Sobowale just The actor! You know how you watch a movie and you're thinking of some other actor that could have portrayed certain characters better? I don't think that happens with many Sola Sobowale performances. And she came extra spicy in this 2018 Kemi Adetiba think. As Eniola Salami, socialite businesswoman by day and man's worst horror by night, she served everything she is famous for in King Of Boys: frustrated shouts, kind smile, evil sneer, furious huff, whisper-yell, scream-cry; everything. I loved how she brought that character home, complete with red atarodo. I mean, the way she so easily shifts from I am laburu as an evil underworld lord, to ah Olorun eleda orun ohun aiye as a worried mom—all in a day's job, is something only Ms. Sobowale can make you take particular notice of and honestly, any further analysis of the actor or the character would just be overstating the obvious. Won really m'eru'le, but not quite in the way Makanaki expected, hehehe.

The cinematographic moments that stood out for me in King Of Boys is first the blend between Eniola's vigil slash Makanaki's ritual scenes. The way Makanaki's 'give me the crown' repeatedly underscored Eniola's praycantations just sort of put the right screws on the tension. And then there's that holding cell scene with Eniola and her ghosts; loved how the lighting was all the ghost effect that was manipulated to give the scene its required amount of gloomy eeriness.

May I say here that I really would love to watch more of Toni Tones too? She really was a delight to watch and listen to with her "does anyone has anytin else to say? No o, k'e feel free, feel free, speak your mind," lmao! She particularly represented the character well as the honestly sympathetic friend in that hospital scene with Bunmi (Imoh Eboh); and then as the cold calculative bitch at Alhaji Salami's (Jide Kosoko) bedside: typical Eniola. Dope acting.

The movie had particularly great editing too. The way the audience was guided through Eniola's character development was nothing short of excellent. The back and forth was so smoothly synced and I especially loved how it looked like they picked particular scenes to introduce with a past (Eniola/Kemi event) that sort of explained the present.

I don't do well with allotting scores but as far as film experiences go, I think King Of Boys is a complete dish with equal  portions of oh-boy, uh-oh and yeah-right moments if you're looking for something to Netflix-and-chill with on a Friday night with the girls, or a Sunday evening with the boys; just don't go taking any notes from Kiitan (Demola Adedoyin): totally unworthy of the Salami name, that one. Boy yen o sharp rara.

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