In collaboration with Ebonylife films, Netflix released Blood Sisters, a four-part limited series that doubles as its first Nigerian original series.
Placed side by side with other Nigerian offerings on Netflix, a lot of which are mediocre flicks camouflaged with decent to good cinematography, it is not surprising to see and understand the immediate acclaim the movie has gotten from its indigenous audience.
But on a deeper surface look and diving beneath social media acclaim, Blood sisters is a laudable effort flawed by plot holes, lack of character development, and inconsistent pacing. But beneath its flaws, you find the treasure that makes the adventure worth it.
In my attempt to be as spoiler free as possible, Blood Sister is a story of escape. Sarah (Ini Dima-Okojie) and Kemi (Nancy Isime) escape domestic violence from CEO fiancé Kola (Deyemi Okanlawon) through methods that eventually leads to his death. The rest of the series sees Sarah and Kemi attempt to escape the greased hands of the law, hired assassins, blackmailers, kidnappers and powerful vested interests.
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Supporting casts, also have their escape stories as well, Gabriel Afolayan’s Femi cannot seem to escape his brother’s shadow or wife’s influence, Genoveva Umeh’s Timeyin also finds it hard to escape drugs while Officer Joe Obasanjo (Chicago) is trapped and cannot escape the system.
Blood Sisters succeeds in telling the whole Nigerian story in the way it highlights different facets of the Nigerian society. In four episodes we see the series touch on domestic violence, nepotism, drug abuse, bribery, kidnapping, paternity fraud, slum living, opulence among other characteristics typical to the Nigerian story, a total departure from the recent Lekkization of Nollywood, where majority of Nollywood’s script are centered solely around the rich elite of Lagos Island.
The themes of the series are well expressed through the impressive acting of the main ensemble cast. The performances from Kehinde Bankole, Gabriel Afolayan and Wale Ojo as Olayinka, Femi and Joe Obasanjo respectively are standouts in an already impressive cast.
Surprisingly, ‘Blood sisters’ crosses a lot of visual lines and boundaries atypical of a Nollywood flick, in its attempt to tell its story. Going by Nigerian standards, the series features one too many raunchy scenes, some of which could frankly be done without. The nudity shown in the rehab scenes gave the movie a stamp of realism that its majorly conservative Nigerian audience may not be ready for.
Like most Nollywood offerings before it, Blood Sister suffers from a lot of melodrama, most notably noticed in Blade’s character. It is asinine that a supposed hired killer would make his moves and mannerism very obvious.
‘Blood sisters’ also suffers from plot holes that are too big to be ignored, most laughable of all was when Timeyin boldly claimed her father taught her all about the business, despite the fact that he passed on twenty years ago.
The pacing seemed to be a challenge for the movie as well, it was undecided at times if it was going to be a methodical suspense-filled thriller like Ozark or a spectacle like the Fast and Furious series.
Overall, the biggest weakness of Blood Sisters is its inability to fully express stories and commit to plot development, although this can be blamed on the fact that a lot was crammed into four episodes, the rushed storytelling ultimately robbed the series of greatness.
Typically plot holes are covered by compelling stories, a la Game of Thrones, however the premise of Blood sisters is not compelling or grandiose enough to induce the audience to ignore.
While early reactions from Nigerians may be overestimating the brilliance of Blood Sisters, and in all fairness in comparison to series like Ozark, Money Heist or even Squid Games it falls a little bit short, it is almost malicious to not notice the effort and potential of this series.
We cannot fairly judge Nollywood’s journey by its intended destination and in rating this series we need to adopt a kaleidoscopic view of where the film industry is coming from and where it is now.
If this series leaves you dissatisfied, it will at least inspire hope that it only goes up from here.