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3 compelling performances from Netflix original 'Jagun Jagun'

Actors' performances are the gold effect for any great movie.

Lateef and Yekini both embodied their characters on Jagun Jagun. [Instagram/iteledicon01]

The indigenous movie tells a story of a warlord, Ogunjimi who feels threatened by a skilful young fighter Gbotija. Despite being the powerful kingmaker and feared for his ruthless war tactics, Gbotija rattled the warlord up with his rebel spirit which changes the course of it all.

Set during the pre-colonial era in the Yoruba kingdom, epic movie Jagun Jagun transcends beyond a historical event into a current plague in the 21st century showing that Yoruba epics mirror current issues, not just recount history. Some of the commendations about the movie is the story depth and how the performances enhanced them.

In no categorical order, here are three actors who delivered compelling performances in Jagun Jagun:

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We first see Lateef, as Gbotija a young man with the powers to speak and control trees but then before our very eyes, he evolves into an impeccable swordsman. Many may know him for his amazing comical roles or his teary eye lover-boy scenes, but all that is left behind as he embodies this character.

From the first scene, it's clear that he put in the work to gain some muscle which is necessary for this character, as he fights in various scenes. While his performances throughout the movie are great, one scene in particular that is quite thrilling is when Gbotija breaks the fourth wall which stands as a barrier between the audience and the actor. Breaking the fourth wall occurs when an actor directs his or her message to the audience and is frowned upon because it is meant to serve as a barrier between the actor and reality. However, Lateef does it in such an impeccable way that raised the theme of political thuggery to the limelight when he faced the camera while remaining in character.

In a few words, he addresses what in our time is a system in which young men and women of the nation are used for negative political errands like; ballot box stealing, killing, vandalism, illicit tax collection and much more. In his case, he was a young warrior who had just lost it all on the altar of a promotion task he was ordered to fulfil. He returns after the third quest and questions the evil actions of his master, he declared boldly to his other co-slaves the evil of what had been done to them. Explaining that although they came for a true course, their stay however has been turned into gains for their master Ogundiji and his clan of Kings.

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He questioned where Ogundiji’s child was while they fought and killed the innocent for his exploits. One need not ask if this wasn’t true for us as a people, especially with the main years of youth thuggery this nation has experienced, Jagun Jagun dared it all and reminded us of our ability to fight this menace at least with the bold step of youths refusing to be puppets to evil course.

Gbogunmi was Ogundiji’s right hand, he was sent to fight on his behalf and was acted by Ibrahim Yekini who delivered a captivating performance.

We had seen Yekini previously on our screens in Yoruba movies no doubt but this time we saw him embrace a deeply traditional role. His eyes told the message he was trying to tell at various intervals without misinterpretation. The mannerisms were never at any point too much or too little and when it was time, he made his presence known when he directed a line to the audience.

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Gbogunmi’s character was vital for us to truly understand Ogundiji’s true relationship with his subjects. Ogundiji dropped Gbogumi when he had no use for him, but one could feel the presence still of the one who dared object to the warlord first.

I believe his confidence to challenge Ogundiji paved the way for Gbotija to do what was finally needed in his death.

Iroyinogunkitan was believed to be Ogundiji's only child but later one was also revealed as Agemo a mystical being that arises in the face of a difficult war. Agemo was Ogundiji's secret weapon and as such was under his control, but the fascinating thing is Bukunmi's roles never spilt into one another until they needed to. The surprise any viewers face when she was unveiled as the mystical being.

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Bukunmi had us emotionally invested in Ogunkitan's character and that of Agemo even though it was a havoc-wrecking mystical being. Some had even wished the Agemo didn't die because of how drawn we were by the performance.

Jagun Jagun is still showing on Netflix.

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