The Patriot Institute of Journalism and Arts (PIJA), Lance Magazine is a public-centric independent media organisation dedicated to fighting injustice, fostering social justice and community development through the telling and retelling of the marginalised-oriented stories.
Hasty Ikeji’s “Dark October” Ineptly Shattered ALUU 4 True Story
I love the good stuff but when the sentimental crowd say the bad stuff has surfaced, it is expected for the bespectacled eyes of a literary critic, that is thoroughgoing to examine it if it is true. I subscribed to my Netflix account because of Dark October produced by Linda Ikeji. But to my chagrin, it seems I wasted my subscription fee on a work of art that lacks depth and was hastily produced, though it has some elements of good.
Dark October would have been the best historical movie ever lived in 2023, produced by a budding movie producer. With the tenacious and powerful storyline and the factorial that it occurred, it would have made the best of the movies in 2023 ever.
Perhaps, renowned Nigerian Blogger Ikeji has forgotten that in both movie production and Journalism, the essence of in-depth research and findings in producing any work can never be overly undermined. It is essential because, with no research or sufficient findings, nothing will form the formidable foundation that will constitute the tenet you build on the rest of the scenes. In Journalism, we do say, “if you don’t fully know, don’t write.” But Ikeji seems to have forgotten this part.
The first issue facing Dark October from the outset is the fact that such a movie is produced and yet no one, not even Ikeji decided to consult the families of the bereaved. For God’s sake, there is always the need for their consent, it is though in the public’s space, it is their story, not yours. They may decide to tell or not to. It is their choice to make.
I am sure if peradventure, Ikeji had consulted these families, she would have had many other sides to the story and as well project the movie the way it should be. Anyways, since this is her first, she should learn now, a movie is not always produced in a rush. Any works of art hastily produced the repercussion will be as that of “Dark October”—one with no depth and with little action.
The story was not even told the way it occurred in 2012. Whether it is an artistic innovation or a form of faction, what happened to Gabriel after he had followed the four boys to the Wisdom’s house with a gun remained unfathomable. Meanwhile, talking of the community of Aku, the movie was projected in a way that some people have seen these boys coming to Wisdom’s residence, demanding their money. For example, the gossipmonger who was selling roasted plantain. If Ikeji wants depth to the movie, she would have engaged in thorough research, trying to fish out those who have lived in the community years before 2012 and those who even lived in the supposed Wisdom’s house before the incident. They would have provide primary, if not secondary information, regarding the story.
I am certain at the hour the boys went to Wisdom’s place, Wisdom’s neighbours would have something they have heard. Was it a gunshot or did the vigilantes’ group just fabricate something? The death of those boys was with mysteries and these mysteries could have been unravelled by the movie and that would have made it the best watch.
Ikeji could have consulted the community leader in charge then in 2012, he could have consulted one or more other community dwellers who can tell their sides of the story. And since the deceased family denied they ever gave her approval that they were not consulted, it shows, Ikeji didn’t even consult the only friend that remained among the boys. Take it or leave it, that only friend, would have played an essential part in the investigation. He would have told Ikeji the amount of the money. He would have explained to Ikeji the real story behind what happened to the boys. He would have given credible and primary accounts of the incident because he was with them until the last day of their life.
Above all, the movie does not go without having the element of a good side too. Although some have criticised Ikeji for using new characters, they say if she had used some notable characters, at least the hit, the sensation and the thrill would have been there. Nevertheless, I’ll not be part of those who say that because as far as I am concerned the ability to use up-and-coming stars makes a star.
In my little research on characters Ikeji used, I heard from a reliable source that many of those used as students were from the University of Nigeria and even some of the settings were also set in UNN. That’s a good one, one, that projects the movie as locally made with global knowledge. As my inamorata has rightly said, the make-up too was top-notch and the destruction of those cars to signify its realness was amazingly wonderful. But that was just the only part thrilling in the movie, others were just kind of boring, too full of telling without showing. Well, historical movie can sometimes be like that.
At the end of the movie, I was also expecting that it will be projected, probably as an epilogue, that the vigilante chief (Kapoon) and the police officers in charge then were later sentenced to death in 2017. Also, a picture of the boys at the end of the movie would have been shown to establish the authenticity of the story Ikeji is telling. Look at the realness of Titanic, it is one of the historical movies having everything detailed including the woman completely telling us how it happened with her as a young lady in love. Even if falsehoods were packaged into the movie, no one will ever know because the movie was widely recognised as one true account of the Titanic’s story. The realness was there.
Meanwhile, for the general readers, Dark October is a historical movie detailing partly an account of how four University of Port Harcourt students were unjustly lynched in what Wikipedia called “necklacing lynching”. They were famously known as Aluu 4 since they were killed in the Aluu community during their attempt to help one of their friends demand their money from a customer-mate who owed him and was avoiding him.
Above all the loopholes in the movie, I am extremely interested to recommend this movie for a good watch. For anyone that doesn’t know the history, the movie will be a perfect one neatly done.