Directed by: – Steve Gukas
Produced by: – Bolanle Austen-Peters, Dotun Olakunri, Pemon Rami
Starring: – Bimbo Akintola, Danny Glover, Somkele Idhalama, Bimbo Manuel, Tim Reid, Sola Oyebade, Charles Okafor, Gideon Okeke, Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey, Charles Etubiebi
Runtime: – 125 minutes (2hrs 5mins)
The Battle. The Struggle. The Triumph.
Something that extremely fascinates me about the Nollywood sphere is the lack of movies that chronicles the history of our nation Nigeria. Even though there have been movies about Nigeria’s history like Half of A Yellow Sun, it was never really a Nollywood effort as the people behind the movie preferred to bank on the prowess of Hollywood and British trained-actors and not the indigenously trained stars. I personally believe that Nollywood trained actors and actresses have the potential to accurately represent our history and educate the viewers about it. When I heard about 93 Days, a movie that revolves around the Ebola virus disease that reached Lagos not too long ago I was very interested in the film. This is due to the fact that the movie opted to go with a cast where Nollywood actors form the majority and a few foreign actors like Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon series), Tim Reid (It & Sister, Sister) and Alastair Mackenzie (Company of Heroes & New Town Killers) who are the minority.
For those that aren’t familiar with the story, on 20 July 2014 the index case in Nigeria was a Liberian- American diplomat, Mr. Patrick Sawyer who flew in from Liberia to Lagos. He became violently ill upon arriving at Murtala Mohammed International Airport and was admitted to First Consultant Hospital. This marked the beginning of a turbulent 13 weeks for all Lagosians and subsequently the whole nation. The index patient spread a virus that would claim the life of 7 more people out of the 19 infected people. From this event, infectious disease experts generated a list of 589 contacts as noted by authorities. The sheer impact of the Ebola virus could have catastrophic for Lagos, Nigeria and possibly the world as Lagos at the time had 21 million people, many of which travel around the world. Thanks to diligent surveillance and a quick response time we were able to avoid a potential nation shattering disaster. The World Health Oragnization’s representative in Nigeria officially declared Nigeria to be Ebola free on 20 October after no new active cases were reported in the follow up contacts,
Members of the general public mostly know parts of the story through the news. Producers Bolanle Austen-Peters, Dotun Olakunri, Pemon Rami and director Steve Gukas present to us 93 Days, a movie that seeks to document the events that happened and tell the story through the perspective of the people who first came into contact with the virus . With that in mind lets take a look at the pros and cons.
- The first thing everyone will notice is the high production values. The cinematography is picturesque as we get good shots of Lagos. What makes it even more intriguing is the fact that the producers and director paid a lot of attention to detail not only on the story but the backdrops as well. If anyone knows Lagos they would recognize that the locations in which many of the events happened were also filming locations. This gives the film a documentary type feel as we get a look inside the Quarantine unit in Yaba and actual rooms in the First Consultant Hospital where the index-case was admitted to which as a result makes the movie more authentic.
- Viewers will be impressed with how informative this movie is. As it not only documents the incident accurately but also proves to be educational. It provides us with an insight to the procedures that our professionals had to perform and risks they took in order to ensure our safety. It also manages to show the crowd a stark reminder of the possible damage a deadly virus like Ebola can cause if it not taken care of properly.
- The film is littered with good performances across the board. We have veteran actor Danny Glover who portrays Dr. Benjamin Ohiaeri, the head physician at the First Consultant Hospital who makes critical decisions and is always willing to share his wisdom at the toughest moments. Tim Reid plays Sam Adeniyi Jones a doctor who warns the EDC about the potential problems an Ebola outbreak in Lagos could cause. Keppy Ekpeyong-Bassey does well as the index-patient Patrick Sawyer as he successfully convinces us that he was suffering during his darkest hour. It was great to see a film with big cast act their roles out well.
- Continuing on from the previous point, a highlight of the film is Somkele Idhalama performance as Dr. Ada Igonoh, an unlikely survivor of the deadly virus. Fresh off The Arbitration, Somkele continues to show her fine form in 93 Days. Somkele acts as the vehicle that reminds us that with perseverance we can overcome the deadliest battles. With performances like this, she is without a doubt going to be one of the brightest stars in Nollywood.
- Another note-worthy performance is Bimbo Akintola’s turn as Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, a top physician at First Consultant Hospital who discovered the virus. Through her performance we learn about how hard working Dr. Adadevoh was. Through her portrayal we also get to see that she was passionate about her job, very compassionate person, a Woman who put the needs of others above herself and most importantly a great mother. Which all but makes her unfortunate demise heart wrenching to watch.
- The film does a great job in highlighting the sacrifices made by the men and women who risked their lives to save Nigeria and West Africa from the Ebola Virus. The film made me realize that we must always take a moment to thank the Doctors of First Consultant Medical Centre especially Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh who gave her life in order to prevent the index-case from leaving the hospital at the time of diagnosis. We must also thank the Commissioner for Health Lagos, The Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, and the staff of the Ebola Emergency centre who spearheaded the management of the cases and the containment of outbreaks and treatment protocols in Nigeria. Even though the movie has a very serious tone, its script even manages to blend light comedy in its dialogue that will make you laugh and cut down the tension when it is necessary.
- The movie doesn’t really have any glaring flaws but something that didn’t sit well with me was its abrupt ending. It honestly felt a little rushed however it doesn’t harm the experience, as the journey is the destination. By time you get there you would already felt a range of emotions. You will have laughed, you will have shed a tear; you will have had a moment of reflection..
93 days is a gripping tale with an inspiring message for Nigeria. It is going to go down the annals of time as one of most important movies to come out of Nollywood. With great performances from an extremely talented cast, good production values and a sharply written script that manages to bring out different range of emotions; I can whole heartedly say that you must see this film.
RATING: – MUST WATCH!!!