Pending the release of Biyi Bandele’s adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of A Yellow Sun in cinemas nearby, I’ve decided to cull reviews of the movie from some major publications from different parts of the World for moviegoers who are considering going to watch it at the cinema.
From the reviews you will get to read below two things become apparent and glaring; This was a highly anticipated movie (not just in Nigeria/Africa) and Biyi Bandele didn’t deliver as expected. Why a first time director best known as a playwright was chosen to helm a movie like this in the first place is beyond me and right now the only thing one can do is to hope this movie doesn’t end up a dud but rather manages to recoup its rumored $7.5 million budget.
Check out the different reviews below and let’s know if you’d want to go see this movie or skip it.
We see almost no films from this part of the world. This is a UK-Nigerian co-production filmed in the country, with a rare degree of passion and commitment. It reminded me of The Killing Fields for the strength of its focus on its characters. It’s a superb piece of work: fresh, harrowing and very humane. – Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Nothing quite matches the visceral impact of, say, Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda, which gave its juggling of matters domestic and political a widescreen, Hollywood heft: though Ejiofor puts over Odenigbo’s monologue on his mother’s death as well as we might expect from this much-garlanded performer, a more forceful movie would surely show the tragedy, instead of reporting it second-hand. This may be an issue of scale, and of our producers’ ability to mount this kind of grand, inclusive narrative on an evidently modest budget. Only a film as big as Africa could have done Adichie’s novel full justice; the treatment it gets here, equally honourable and hurried, reduces it to Nigerian soap with BAFTA-level acting. The film adaptation of Half of a Yellow Sun, the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, reduces a complex and powerful story to a Nigerian soap opera – Telegraph.co.uk
There is nothing here that comes over like cinema – it’s quite well acted, quite handsomely got up, but its essential TV-movie dreariness continually makes you want to walk out. Everything seems off-target, minor, as though the story (which is at times unforgivably unclear) isn’t being dramatised so much as merely acted out and hurried through. – The Financial Times
While heartfelt and not lacking in drama, large chunks of the film are terribly boring while the central romance between Newton and Ejiofor lacks chemistry. The plot is also pretty hard to follow, while the script leaves us clueless as to the characters’ motivations. – DailyMirror
Half of a Yellow Sun is a lop-sided but moving and effective adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Orange Prize-winning novel. – The Independent UK
Behind the camera is first time director Biyi Bandele, who can make early 1960s Nigeria look as exotic as a James Bond location, but is also responsible for some stodgy, stagey sequences that either point up his theatre background, or suggest that time was running out during filming… Half Of A Yellow Sun deserves recognition for its ambition, tenacity and intentions, even it’s not quite a full throttle experience. – The Scotsman (Scotland)
The film is well intentioned and certainly very well cast. Unfortunately, the film is often stately and sluggish with some very daytime-soapy moments of emotional revelation. At other times, it looks more like a filmed theatrical piece. – The Guardian (UK)
The road to mediocrity is paved with good intentions and Biyi Bandele’s awkward arrangement of domestic squalls, milling extras and antique newsreel footage never truly hangs together. – The Observer (UK)