Winner of AT&T’s Untold Stories program, which supports underrepresented filmmakers, ‘Nigerian Prince’ provides a mildly enjoyable looking into an interesting world rarely explored by film.
Directed by Faraday Okoro, ‘Nigerian Prince’ follows two stories, that of Eze (Antonio J. Bell), an American teenager sent by his mother to Nigeria in order to get in touch with his cultural roots, and that of his cousin, Pius (Chinaza Uche), an internet scammer desperately trying to pay off a corrupt police chief.
The shadowy world of deceit and corruption fascinates no matter the context, and ‘Nigerian Prince’ provides a unique backdrop to a timeless story—Lagos, where the film was shot. Sprinkled with vibrant settings, elaborate scams, and tense moments, ‘Nigerian Prince’ should be a hit, right?
Well, it’s certainly no scam. The film is good, after all, but not good, just generally good in a forgettable sort of way. While it’s impressive that they finished the project in fewer than twelve months, it shows. Important relationships go underdeveloped. Plot threads, like Eze’s enrollment in a Nigerian school, are dropped entirely. In fact, the film, ostensibly about Eze, pushes him to the side in favor of Pius.
Though the latter is doubtless the more interesting of the two due to his role in the scamming underworld, he receives undue attention; Eze is the character with the internal conflict, the one who needs to make a decision—will he do whatever it takes to get home? Pius, on the other hand, is purely reactionary, his moral dubiousness neither questioned by himself nor the audience.
‘Nigerian Prince’ ultimately offers a snapshot into the reality behind junk-mail scams on the other side of the screen. With an interesting premise, solid performances, and a talented filmmaker at the helm, it just doesn’t transcend the sum of its parts.
‘Nigerian Prince’ held its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival
Photo courtesy of IMDB