Released on October 13, 2023, Kunle Afolayan’s latest cinematic gem, “Ijogbon,” takes us on a journey that resonates with the brilliance of morality and tradition. Similar to Uchemba Willam’s ‘Mamba’s Diamond’ and Tade Ogidan’s ‘Diamond Ring,’ Afolayan once again explores the theme of diamonds, but his narrative takes an enthralling turn, enriched by innovative storytelling and stunning cinematography, creating a masterpiece.
In “Ijogbon,” the gifted director introduces a cast of fresh faces, a signature move of his previous masterpieces like ‘October 1st,’ ‘Citation,’ ‘Swallow,’ and ‘Aníkúlápó.’ The story follows four teenage friends, Oby, Jamiu, Ranti, and Omooba, residing in the serene town of Oyo Oke. Their lives take an unexpected twist when they stumble upon a mysterious treasure, uncut diamonds, which propels them into a chaotic situation.
The film’s title, “Ijogbon,” carries profound Yoruba connotations, signifying “stubborn” or “troublesome” but extending to meanings like “chaos” or “heated argument.” This name aptly encapsulates the film’s action and counteraction, captured through Afolayan’s lens.
The narrative opens with a captivating folktale that runs parallel to the story of the four friends. Oby, Jamiu, Ranti, and Omooba come from diverse backgrounds, each dealing with their own challenges. They discover a bag full of uncut diamonds, igniting their dreams of escaping Nigeria for a better future. However, their newfound wealth attracts the attention of the diamond owners, disguised as investors seeking to exploit the community for a development project. The story harmonizes a moonlight tale about the diamonds’ origins and a nightmare the young friends find themselves in. As the story unfolds, the audience is left wondering how the discovery will affect their friendship.
“Ijogbon” features a talented ensemble of youthful actors, including Fawaz Aina, Ebiesuwa Oluwaseyi, Kayode Ojuolape, and Ruby Akubueze in central roles. Their chemistry on screen adds authenticity to the narrative. The film also includes established industry names like Sam Dede, Bimbo Manuel, Gabriel Afolayan, and Femi Branch, creating a unique blend of experience and emerging talent. Notably, Dorothy Bachor of BBNaija fame makes a notable appearance, demonstrating her growth as an actress.
Setting, Narrative Techniques, and Cinematography
The film’s setting is not merely a backdrop but an integral part of the narrative. It portrays a secluded town within Oyo State, near the Benin Republic, emphasizing the characters’ desire to leave Nigeria. The harsh environment mirrors their challenging lives, creating empathy for their aspirations. Afolayan employs a compelling narrative technique, blending a folktale with the main story to craft an engaging viewing experience. The film’s realism is enhanced by the incorporation of everyday activities, achieved through skillful cinematography.
“Ijogbon” weaves elements of comedy, drama, and suspense, making it a genre-defying experience. It transitions from light-hearted humor to intense clashes and betrayals as the diamond’s presence disrupts the characters’ lives. It delves into universal themes and human nature’s response to life-altering changes.
This coming-of-age narrative explores not only the young protagonists’ growth but also the consequences of their actions on their families and the community. It emphasizes the gravity of life-altering choices and their impact on individuals and society. While humor is present, it takes a backseat to the more profound examination of human nature. The film’s brisk pacing keeps the audience engaged throughout, eager to uncover the next twist in the story.
As the story comes full circle, “Ijogbon” leaves a lasting message about the consequences of one’s actions. It subtly explores themes of love, culture, and tradition, enriching the narrative.
Flops and Conclusion
Finding faults in “Ijogbon” is like searching for a needle in a haystack. The film’s beauty lies in its relatable and masterfully narrated storyline. It leaves some questions unanswered intentionally, keeping the audience in suspense. This film rates a solid 7/10 and is a must-watch for its captivating storytelling.
“Ijogbon” is now available for streaming on Netflix, offering a unique cinematic experience that is likely to leave a lasting impact, making it worth revisiting.