Pulse Movie Review "76" is a well-made, engrossing historical drama

In an era where History is gradually being blotted out, it is important that events like that of 1976 are remembered.

  • Published: , Refreshed:
"76" Nollywood movie play

“76” wins best Nigerian movie

24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

As a historical piece, a great service has been done by Izu Ojukwu in bringing "76" to the screen.

produced by Adonaijah Owiriwa and Izu Ojukwu and directed by Izu Ojukwu, the anticipated Nollywood movie, "76," premiered on Thursday, November 3, 2016, at Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria.

"76" is a meticulously detailed Nigerian historical fiction drama about a young soldier accused of complicity in the abortive coup of 1976, and his pregnant wife who helps him prove his innocence.

The movie is set six years after the civil war and follows the story of Captain Joseph Dewa (Ramsay Nouah) from the middle belt, who gets into a relationship with Suzy (Rita Dominic) a young O-Level student from the Southeastern part of Nigeria. Due to ethnic differences, he is despised by her family and unable to pay her bride price and officially become her husband.

play Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Daniel K Daniel, Ibinabo Fiberesima at the Lagos premiere of "76." (Instagram )

ALSO READ: 14 ACTORS THAT SHOULD LEAD THE 2017 AWARDS SEASON

Now heavily pregnant, the couple is awaiting the birth of their first child when plans of a coup and a botched coup attempt change their lives. Dewa resists the pressure to assist in the assassination of the Head of State alongside four other top officials. When the coup fails, Dewa is arrested in a clampdown that follows the botched coup. His questionable ties to the coup make his release impossible. Suzy, who has just put to bed, sets out to prove Dewa's innocence as he is faced with the possibility of death by firing squad.

Izu Ojukwu transports viewers back to the familiar 1976, six years after the civil war, when General Murtala Muhammed was killed on February 13, 1976, in an abortive coup attempt led by Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka. He was succeeded by the Chief of Staff, Supreme HQ, Lieutenant General Olusegun Obasanjo.

"76" is not entirely a movie about the 1976 coup. The events of "1976" pilot the circumstances that form the setting for the movie. Murtala Muhammed, Dimka and Obasanjo are not explicitly mentioned, however, the administration and events are alluded in scenes  such as when Major Gomos (Chidi Mokeme) says to  Captain Dewe,"10, 000 innocent public officials have been dismissed because they have no voice" ; After General Muhammed became head of state in 1975, he dismissed over 10,000 public officials and employees without benefits, on account of age, health, incompetence, or malpractice.

 

ALSO READ: 10 IMPORTANT FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT "76"

This movie doesn't get its eminence from action pyrotechnics as a 'war film,' but from its dialogue, cast, plot and cinematography. For Ihr 58mins, "76" successfully enthrals, making it impossible to sit through it without leaving with memorable moments or at least the urge to further be enlightened about the Nigerian history.

The Izu Ojukwu movie sparks a bygone era to life with impressive imagery, as he takes viewers back to the 70s via retro fashion, music and dance style. Ojukwu as a director is persistently curious, constantly looking for the small details that sell the emotion and underlying theme.

The historic movie lines up a fine cast to creatively bring the characters to life. There is Nouah as Captain Dewa, who delivers one of the best performances of the year in one of the most best movies of the decade. Rita Dominic as Suzy is refreshing. Her interpretation of the character brings sincere emotions  to the movie. She doesn't falter in bringing the plight of a Soldier's wife to life on screen. Chidi Mokeme as Major Gosmos is extraordinary. Without trying too hard, Mokeme delivers as a participant in the February 13, 1976, abortive military coup. The three above mentioned actors restate their legendary acting skills in "76.

Can we talk about Memry Savanhu as Eunice? Savanhu produced her first movie "Distance Between," which starred Mercy Johnson, Rita Dominic and Kalu Ikeagwu, in 2007. She doesn't grab your attention with her dialogue, rather she mesmerizes with her mannerism. She introduces her mastery in acting with an outstanding interpretation of Eunice, Captain Dewa's neighbour whose hobby is without doubt, dancing. A look at Memry Savanhu in "76" and you don't just see a good dancer, you see an actor.

play Memry Savanhu and Adonaijah Owiriwa in "76"

 

ALSO READ: PULSE MOVIE REVIEW: "OLOIBIRI" ENCAPSULATES THE PLIGHT OF THE NIGER DELTANS

Daniel K Daniel as Corporal Obi, Ibinabo Fiberesima as Angel, Adonai Owiriwa as Captain V. M. Jaiye; Pat Nebo as Colonel Aliu; Nelly Ekwereogu as Ikenna; Shuaibu Ebenesi Adams as Lieutenant Jubril and Debo Oguns as Noel are all ideal and pleasurably bring their characters to life.

The chemistry and banter between Dewa, Gosmos and Suzy is sizzling. No background is offered as regards Dewa and Gosmos' relationship; the comfortable banter and conversations between Suzy and Gosmos is used to illuminate the extent of the relationship and friendship.

The movie was shot at Mokola Barracks in Ibadan and the cast were trained for 21 days by the Nigerian Defence Academy; a training that is evident in their performances as army officials.

"76" comes with trivial flaws like the confusing scene where Captain Dewa was able to swiftly move his 'non-functional' vehicle during his escape from the barrack, despite the presence of a truck and armed military men right behind him.

 

ALSO READ: "A TRIP TO JAMAICA" TRIES TOO HARD TO AMUSE [REVIEW]

Technically, the film is beautifully captured, pays a lot of attention to details and the musical score carries the film along and matches the visuals.

A success, the movie has the required tension, splendiferous direction, entertainment value, technical expertise and first-rate acting. It is without doubt one of the best movies of 2016, and definitely a 2017 award contender.


In an era where History is gradually being blotted out, it is important that events like that of 1976 are remembered.

"76" debuts in cinemas nationwide on Friday, November 25, 2016.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.