Cast: Sadiq Daba, Kayode Aderupoko, Kehinde Bankole, Nick Rhys and introducing Demola Adedoyin.
Director: Kunle Afolayan
Synopsis: A police inspector is sent to Akote town to investigate the rape and murder of some young girls. As the body count escalates, he realises he has a serial killer in his hands and that the murders are linked to a very disturbing secret.
Veteran actor Sadiq Daba makes a triumphant comeback in this dark thriller penned by Tunde Babalola and directed by Kunle Afolayan, his second thriller following The Figurine. October 1 is a carefully woven murder mystery set in an ethnically diverse community.The costumes and props were carefully selected to depict Nigeria in the 1960s and historical facts well presented via conversations among the characters and old radio and video footages.
The location was excellent, depicting a picturesque rural setting and the lives of the people of that period. The plot does not follow the formula of most Nollywood movies- improbable scenarios or predictable twists. At first there were a few holes in the story but then were skilfully filled, except for one… Danladi’s background.
Daba was well cast as Inspector Danladi Waziri. As an actor from the old school, the audience would expect a lot from him and got it. However- no offence to the actor- his Hausa accent was a tad exaggerated in the film and his character’s background was rather scanty. He mentioned a son in passing and it was left at that, the audience don’t hear more about the son or of any member of Danladi’s family. He’s brilliant and observant but wore a worn out, almost melancholic look on his face most of the time. The audience can’t help but feel there’s more about Danladi but it was never revealed- except his confessed disillusionment over an execution he drunkenly described as “not my finest hour.”
Danladi’s sidekick, Sergeant Sunday (Kayode Aderupoko) first appeared to be the comic relief, not surprising as the actor is well known for his comic roles in Yoruba films. His Nigerian Standard English is very awkward- he should have simply been made to speak Pidgin English instead. He serves as Danladi’s interpreter and go-between with the king and the community. But then we see him later as trying to be Danladi’s voice of reason. Far more schooled than his superior in his community’s norms and culture, he clashes with Danladi over an arrest that was in many ways impossible, not caring if he lost his job over it.
Director Kunle Afolayan’s small but significant role of Agbekoya proved yet again he’s versatile as an actor as well as a director. His character’s surly demeanour and abrupt answers to Danladi’s questions suggested he knew more than he was letting on and the heartrending epic scene between him and Danladi was enough to make the audience applaud him and weep along with him at the same time.
Scottish actor Nick Rhys’ performance as Waziri’s patronising British superior was also memorable. He represented the British top shots at the time- giving his subordinates instructions and at the same time looking down on them. However, we are glad to see him rather put out by the appearance of Mrs Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (Deola Sagoe in a brief and very unnecessary cameo).
The movie’s running time is 145 minutes, an achievement since most Nollywood movies’ stories are usually split into two or more Dvds. Afolayan and Babalola left no stone unturned to give the Nigerian audience a thoroughly excellent movie. New viewers of October 1 would be especially touched by the last scene... Danladi staring at the portrait of Nnamdi Azikiwe placed after Queen Elizabeth II’s was removed; symbolising the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians as they entered the new era of Independence.
However, the audience would also be left to wonder, like Danladi. By not making the identity of the killer public, who was really being protected here?
This movie is one of the few that proves that we owe Nollywood more than a chance. It is worth a few hours of your time.