In filmmaking, every director aims to create a motion picture that hooks the viewers with a compelling storyline; a film that skirts around – examining important perspectives and issues, while gripping its audience in a reel of visuals that hit in the right spots and at appropriate proportions. Kenneth Gyang understood this assignment and delivers in the newly-released Netflix series, Blood Sisters.
Blood Sisters is a story of two friends bonded by collective suffering, repression, murder, and affection. The four-episode Netflix special examines a wide range of important issues; from male dominance, spousal violence, friendship, sibling rivalry, parental expectations, and dominance of wealth. This barrage of themes starts to hit the viewer right from the first episode of Blood Sisters, that too without providing the tell-all to the narrative from its start. It leaves your imagination in action. As I wrote earlier; excellent filmmaking.The plot opens up with the engagement of Sarah Duru and Kola Ademola, played by Ini Dima-Okojie and Demola Olanrewaju respectively; and the exhibition of the success and opulence of the Ademola family. The ceremony turns into a burgeoning disaster, as the groom-to-be was murdered by Sarah’s friend, Kemi Sanya (essayed by Nancy Isime), and all begins to go downhill. What the viewers are subsequently introduced to, is the prestigious Ademola family falling apart like a pack of cards, steep in rivalry and the jealousy from the deceased’s siblings, Femi and Timehin.
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Produced by ace filmmaker, Mo Abudu, the movie, star-studded in its casting, explores the whodunnit concept, executed in the search for the deceased killer(s), a role largely undertaken by Uncle B (Ramsey Nouah) and Officer Joe Obasanjo (Wale Ojo), while also putting at its epicenter the chivalry within the Ademola family, held by the character of Uduak Ademola – a role played by the delectable Kate Henshaw.
Blood Sisters is superb in the delivery of its compelling dialogues, and the rhythm of the plot evokes emotion at its focal points. This makes it easy to sustain the interest and emotion of the viewers over the four-episode long series. Also, the angular shots of a huge chunk of the scenes make the film experience more immersive and engaging. Someone has to give props to cinematographer, Malcolm McLean, for aptly visualizing the beauty and the sham of the scenes in almost equal proportions. The right sampling of music and interplay between foreign music and Afrobeats is also in its right proportions, exhibiting an appreciation of diverse music tastes that do not erode the peculiarity of the settings of the film.How Sarah and Kemi are victims of repression and circumstance is what Blood Sisters journeys on to explain. Its fundamental message of how violence begets more violence makes the very idea of the film important and crucial. The abuse suffered by Kola Ademola in the hands of different women, who all suffer in silence after being stifled in buyouts by the Ademola family, wants to make you justify its eventual death. Death and severed bonds is what happens when the truth is covered up and violence is celebrated, and this is what Blood Sisters preaches, and why its message is quite important. The Nigerian society is an avalanche of a lot of women who are suffering violence and in violence. Blood Sisters sets the right conditions for this discourse to be examined and transported to mainstream conversations.
Also, what is observed from the movie is that the glossy lifestyle of the Ademola family inherently harbours its own demons, and how the wards of Uduak Ademola are victims of love denied from their mother. This is evident in the spasms of outbursts of Timehin and Femi, played by Genoveva Umeh and Gabriel Afolayan. In the climax, you see Timehin’s addiction to drugs and battles with mental health. This is also shown in the repression of Femi, the elder child, to his younger sibling, Kola, in the administration of the family business, which breeds suspicion and rivalry amongst the siblings, especially in a society that lays born-leadership and respect on the shoulders of elder children. It hurts when the family home is lavishly adorned with the portraits of the youngest star-child and his mother, and other siblings are conspicuously missing in the pictures.
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What also draws the viewer to the compelling narrative is the rot of corruption and how it shields the society from the examination of what really matters. This is evident in how there is a repeat in the criminalization of Sarah and Kemi without the presumption of innocence by the inherent forces of the Nigerian Police Force up to its Inspector General, “incentivized” by the free cash Uduak Ademola doles, in bundles. It also exhibits the concept of change in normalized abnormal systems, and what really happens when an individual stands for what is right. This is evident in the character of Officer Joe Obasanjo (Officer Chicago).A defect in the narrative is perhaps the over-sexualization of the roles of Femi Ademola and his spouse, played by Gabriel Afolayan and Kehinde Bankole. The sex scenes are also too excessive, as it seems the only real communication between Femi and his wife is through sex, and largely do not have a significant bearing over the movie’s message. Gabriel Afolayan’s character dealt with larger problems and issues in the plot, and the steep sexualization of his character clouds the genuineness and the importance of his presence in the film.
Blood Sisters is a thrilling narrative heralding a brilliant exhibition of creative storytelling, and the examination of common-place but overlooked discourse of violence and corruption. It is a perfect examination of violence, bond, and rivalry, and it is a movie that I would strongly advise you to watch. Blood Sisters is streaming on Netflix.