Hell or High Water tackles the struggle of Identity

Director:  Asurf Oluseyi

Producer: Judith Audu

Cast: Eyinna Nwigwe, Daniel K Daniel, Michelle Raccah Ashionye, Gregory Ojefua

Year: 2017

Hell or High water features Bola (Eyinna Nwigwe) as a pastor. When we first meet him, he is encouraging young people on the challenges of life and preaching the word of God. He seems like the perfect man of God, but there is something that is wrong with him. He suffers from series of disturbing flashbacks which takes us some time to understand. Despite Bola’s many achievements, he does not seem like a satisfied man. His wife, Ejide (Michelle Ashionye Raccah) also has dissatisfaction written all over her, she seems to be doing most of the work of making their marriage work.

We soon understand the images that haunt Bola. He grew up gay, and his parent’s way of getting the “demons” out of him was by offering him to a priest, who continuously hit him while ordering the spirits to leave. That is not the worse of Bola’s struggle though. As an adult, he is married to a woman and also leads a church, but he still pays a visit to his male lover, Kelechi (Daniel K. Daniel). The scorned ex-wife of his lover finds them together, records them and releases a tape.  In Nigeria, there is nothing left for such people, especially for Bola who is a pastor in a respected church.

Hell or High Water starts beautiful with exceptional cinematography sustaining the film as we go forward. The beautiful camera angles and the re-occurring images that Bola has to endure are the cinematographer’s idea of communicating a deep story with images while the scriptwriter communicates with efficient dialogue. It is the cinematographer’s shots that help us understand that Bola is not a satisfied man.

Hell or High Water does not end with a proper resolve, we see Bola deal with rejection from his community, from the church and family, the writer’s message is subtle. There is an advocacy in Hell or High Water especially because the writer makes a point of showing us how Bola has struggled with identity from a young boy to an adult. Despite the cane, and the moments with the spiritualist, Bola does not receive healing from being homosexual.

The homophobia is explicitly explored when Bola’s mother tells him; she should have aborted him if she knew he would turn out as a homosexual. It is an exploration of what is deemed a taboo in Nigeria.

Despite its indefinite resolve to the problem it starts, Hell or High Water offers good elements of filmmaking. The story is great. Cinematography is fantastic and the actors do a good job of sustaining us while the film lasts.

Hell or High Water earns an 8/10 from Xplore

 

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