Nollywood Movie Review And Rating: Netflix Far From Home

Netflix Far From Home

Here is the review and rating of Netflix Far From Home by Safarigirl.

Phew! It’s been a while I was on the streets, but there will be no dilly-dallying. Netflix closed the year for the Nigerian market with their much anticipated Young Adult series titled Far From Home.

It’s a 5-episode series that tells the tale of a talented boy from a poor home, and how he makes it into a prestigious school for the rich. Quick details, before we get into the nitty gritty of things

Title: Far From Home

Director(s): Chinaza Onuzo, Dami Elebe

Writer(s): Dami Elebe, Chinaza Onuzo

Genre: Drama, Comedy

Actor(s): Funke Akindele, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Mike Afolarin, Elma Mbadiwe, Adesua Etomi, Bolanle Ninalowo, Bimbo Akintola

Run Time: 5 episodes of 1 hr Each (5 hrs)

Production: Netflix, Inkblot

Plot:

Ishaya Bello, a talented artist from a poor home, applies to a prestigious University in a bid to secure a $10,000 Scholarship fund. His grand plan hits a glitch, when he realises he’s not entitled to the cash grant. Ishaya resorts to making deals with criminal characters, in a bid to recover various amounts he’s sunk into his dream. This leads him into dangerous situations, while trying to settle into a school he doesn’t quite fit into.

Review:

Okay, to the thick of it. Prior to this series premier, Netflix and the entire production team got a lot of flack, specifically on Twitter, for everything from casting choices to the reality of the movie’s premise.

While this contributed to publicity, it was negative publicity for the most part. However, the series puts to bed so many of the criticisms.

First off, I want to start with the plotline. To be honest, I was halfway through the first episode, waiting for the action to start, while trying to make sense of how this guy who seems a bit older than the average Secondary School student, would pass as one. If this is your worry, let me help you now by telling you that the school is supposed to be for Advanced Levels (A’Levels), which typically comes after Secondary School (O’Levels), so, if the seeming age discrepancies are your grouse, you can shrug that off and keep it moving.

ALSO READ:  I Didn’t Let My Failed First Marriage Break Me - Funke Akindele

Now, to the rest of the movie. It did follow the somewhat popular trope of “street kid in a rich school, selling drugs to the privileged kids and catching the eye of the most popular girl in school”, but it followed it well enough. Ishaya Bello’s (Afolarin) entire involvement with Wilmer Academy, and then subsequently, the criminal duo of Rambo (Ninalowo) and Ijoba alias Government (Franklin), is a result of his desperation to fulfill his dream of being an artist. Most of his decisions equally follow this desperation, so much that he ends up betraying friends and family at certain points.

Following the continued “Americanization” of Nollywood, Wilmer Academy, the school the series is set in, aligns with everything expected in an American school; cheerleaders and football players (only, actual football, not that eggball the Americans play obviously), mean boys and girls, outcasts (although, this line is blurred pretty fast), and Founders Day Ball, which is just some form of Prom. However, while you may be tempted to snicker a couple of times as an alumni of a Public school, bear in mind, that we don’t know what goes on with the bourgeoise grin.

The writing was quite good, shout out to Dami Elebe, the Headwriter and her team. The vision was there, and was translated well. There were scenes that seemed problematic at the time they were happening, however, later scenes cleared up whatever issues that may have arisen.

Now, to dabble into perhaps, the most controversial part of the series for many, CASTING. To be honest, a lot of people were just mad that people who we assumed were playing teenagers, had too much facial hair to pass. In defence, the promo pictures did them no favours. However, the casting was quite good. Elma Mbadiwe was great as Carmen, the troubled daughter of the school’s owners,
there were moments when she’d remind me of Kerry Washington with her facial features. Mike Afolarin’s gemu eventually didn’t matter so much, as he pulled off the role of Ishaya Bello brilliantly. Bucci Franklin as always, was stellar as Government. Bolanle Ninalowo earned my applause, because while Rambo was an offshoot of the character he absolutely owned in Picture Perfect, ‘Jobe’, he was indeed a fearful crime lord. He murdered every scene, and did a clean up afterward. Emeka Nwagbaraocha, who plays Frank, may be familiar to some after his role in RattleSnake as the Techkid. As Frank, he executes the role of a timid, good-natured kid, really well. I rather enjoyed his first interaction with Rahila (Tomi Ojo), Ishaya’s sister. Olumide Oworu really makes an unlikeable character in the manipulative and egoistic, Atlas, Carmen’s (Mbadiwe) sweetheart. Another actor who shone, was someone we never even got to see in the promo videos or poster- Natse Jemide, who plays Reggie, one of the students. Soon as I saw this kid, I sat up, because “Hollup! Why ain’t his picture on the posters?” If they moved this kid from the show and threw him into some American movie, he’d not look out of place. He embodied the chill vibes you’d expect from the cool, rich kid. Possibly my favourite character from the series. I look forward to seeing more of him in Nollywood, his aura is immaculate.

ALSO READ:  Lagos PDP Governorship Candidate Unveils Funke Akindele As Running Mate

I really liked that for the most part, the more established actors played a background role to the kids. The likes of RMD, Bimbo Akintola, Carolyn King, Linda Ejiofor-Suleiman and Adesua Etomi-Wellington play their role as Faculty very well, Funke Akindele and Paul Adams also tug some heartstrings as the parents of Ishaya Bello, Netflix’ best guy, Deyemi Okanlawon also brings the suave as the celebrated artist, Essien. Guest appearances by Chioma Chukwura, Ufuoma McDermott, Yemi Blaq, Femi Branch, FunnyBone, Ibrahim Suleiman, Erica Nlewedim, and Oge Okoye wrap everything up pretty well.

Overall, the casting was good, new faces were introduced and I’m pretty hopeful the Nollywood space will be kind to them.

ALSO READ:  JJC Skillz Announces Separation From Actress Funke Akindele

As with most Netflix productions, the cinematography, sound, lighting and overall production was very good. They did not spare usage of Nigerian music with the soundtracks, and I particularly liked the blending of Fave’s Baby with the dialogue in a scene. The series is set in Lagos, and while we’re made aware of the wealth of some of the students, the houses shown didn’t have repulsively extravagant decor. They looked classy enough, without being tacky.

Far From Home is a great series, and I do hope it gets a second season. It explores themes of friendship, betrayal, family, self discovery, sacrifice, to name a few.

I really enjoyed it, and would recommend it for a watch this festive season. The pilot episode starts slow, but once you settle in, it’s quite interesting.

Rating: 8/10

Brainnews

Eyo Nse is a creative writer, blogger and a software engineer. He is a simple individual who loves to see others succeed in life. Mr Wisdytech as he is popularly known - started blogging in the early 2000's.