#EagleWingsMovie debuted in the cinema nationwide Friday
#EagleWingsMovie is a Nigerian military/Nollywood film on the fights and successes of the Nigerian government and the relentless, selfless efforts of the Nigerian Army in combating the menace of Boko Haram in the North East of the country.
In 2002, Nigeria was thrown into chaos as an extremist muslim group took the country by storm and declared war on the civilian population in the North East. They called themselves Boko Haram, which literally translates to Book Forbidden. Their grouse is with the western education system. They mainly targeted churches and schools and later graduated to bombing markets and even mosques.
The situation has been there ever since and has led to loss of thousands of lives and millions displaced from their homes..
Now fast-forward to 2020, the situation is still dire. Despite the insurgency war gulping billions of naira, the Boko Haram insurgents are still here, they are still carrying attacks, with millions of people still living in IDP camps in the northeast.
As a result, most Nigerians have lost faith in the government’s efforts in the fight against these bad guys. They believe the federal government and the Nigerian military is resting on their oars in the fight against these terror group and have failed to protect the lives and property of their citizens.
This supposed erroneous impression is what the movie, #EagleWingsMovie seeks to address. The Nigerian government and some operators in the Nigeria movie industry had to come together to tell the story of the Nigerian Air Force and the fight against Boko Haram in the movie.
The film is set in the arid countryside of the northeast, particularly in Borno State. It is also the purported headquarters of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The dry arid setting contributed to the intense violent mood in the story.
Frank Papel brings his genius screenwriting to bear on this spellbound tale of love and duty, war and peace. He does not only explore the fundamental value of life and property in times of war but man’s innate desire to stay alive despite all odds.
#EagleWingsMovie begins with an elaborate wedding of Nuru, a fighter jet pilot. In a light mood reminiscent of the Nollywood favs, the romcom, the plot skyrocketed quickly into a more serious situation of bombings and people running for dear lives. And in this poignant time, the call falls on the hero to save his people and our newly wedded hero leaves his new bride to answer the call of duty.
The story is easy to follow.
The film exposes the prominent features of the outcome of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North; the palpable destructive violence that is both unwarranted and unnecessary.
Through this film, we witnessed firsthand the real nature of the IDP camps. It is abhorrent how they live. We have always known that the Boko Haram insurgents have displaced lots of innocent civilians from their homes, but this is the first time we are seeing a panoramic view of communities displaced from their home with nowhere to turn.
“What are these people even fighting for?” Nuru asked and FJ replied, “nobody knows”. But the truth is that despite the acrid hardship that is explicit in Eagle Wings setting, we can see the sickening poverty. It is written on the faces of the people, on the kind of huts they live, on the kind of foods they eat, poverty is just everywhere.
Someone once said that the Nigerian soldier is the bravest soldier in the world and it is true. The Nigerian military is not known for state of the art equipment and fighting gear but our soldiers manage to put up a successful against the insurgents and give them a run for their money. #EagleWingsMovie celebrates the selflessness and bravery of the Nigerian soldier, both the air force and the army. It celebrates the women and men of the force who sacrifice their lives daily to protect and serve. And I am talking about every officer in the Nigerian armed forces.
I bet many Nigerians did not even know that the NAF Nigerian Air Force was involved in the protracted and expensive fight against the Boko Haram insurgency. Therefore, #EagleWingsMovie was an eye opener.
DUTY & LOVE
The central theme in Eagle Wings is duty and love. What does a man do when he has to choose between duty to fatherland and duty to love? Eagle Wings tries to strike a balance between these two opposing forces.
At the beginning of the movie, I thought it was a romantic comedy. I mean I saw a wedding so… but then the wedding was swiftly followed by impending war. The Boko haram insurgents have bombed a market in Maiduguri and so our gallant new groom will have to abandon his new bride and head to the war front.
Will he make it back to the arms of love or will he become a sacrifice on the altar of duty to fatherland?
If there is something to enjoy in the movie, it is the acting. The cast led by Enyinna Nwigwe held us spellbound by outstanding performance. I have to say that the casting director deserves an award for casting. The acting brought the story to life for me.
Notable among the actors are:
Eagle Wings has Enyinna Nwigwe playing the lead character.
I have to confess that this is the first time I am seeing a veteran actor in an action flick of this kind. But this is the first true action film in Nigeria so…
Enyinna was breathtaking in the lead. A newly wedded fighter pilot is sent to the enemy frontline to rescue civilians abducted by Boko haram terrorists. Normally, he has done this severally that for him it’s just a routine job. But luck runs out on him when his jet crashlands into the enemy territory. He has to fight to complete his mission and return home to his waiting pregnant new bride.
Who doesn’t love Femi Jacobs? Femi Jacobs played assistant lead to Enyinna and both of them have so much chemistry you’d think they were childhood buddies. They are real and believable.
I am a big fan of FJ and I was excited to see him pull off such action stunts in Eagle Wings as he led the tag team to rescue the hero from the bad guys.
Seeing the late Sadiq Daba as the President of Nigeria warmed my heart and gave me many nostalgic feelings; my heart melted. No doubt, the actor will be greatly missed.
One thing about Sadiq Daba is that he wears his character like agbada! It could not have fit better.
Although it was just a cameo, he had a memorable line, “So what are we waiting for? Let’s go get them!” He was just so Buhari-like that you’d think he was the real man. The audience behind me at the cinema started laughing because he mimicked Buhari so much.
Although the cinema hall was not packed on Sunday for such an epic movie, the experience was immersive. And that was because Eagle Wings was shot with the Atlaslensco Orion 2X anamorphic lenses on the Alexa mini camera. It is the first time the camera is being used to shoot a film in Nigeria.
Paul Papel, the New York Film School alumni who double as writer and director said his intention is to show that Nollywood has the fibre to make any kind of film in the world given the right support and equipment. And he did just that.
The first thing you would notice is while watching the film, you would be moving with the screen. You would feel like your seat is moving but you are not. I mean, if you are used to the cinema experience you would know that this was different. It was mind blowing. I thought I was the only one feeling it until people started whispering behind me, “wetin dey happen? My seat dey move?” I mean it was that surreal!
Another thing about the cinematography is that all the shots were necessary. There were no unnecessary shots just to impress the audience as is often the case with Nigerian films. Each shot counted. And the director utilized every shot to tell the story in a way that enhances the mood of the film and brought the audience close to the story.
I remember the IDP camp shots, the picture was so close and that brought home the shocking sense of the suffering the displaced persons go through at such a horrid place.
Throughout the film, you would feel this smooth ambience of the cinematic experience, unlike anything you have felt before in a cinema.
One thing worth noting is the height of the characters. All the characters look like giants; they are so tall you would feel like a diminutive creature. And that is what an anamorphic lens does. It highlights the objects and gives a unique and cinematic look.
If you haven’t seen the film, I strongly guarantee this film would blow your mind.
If you are not familiar with the works of Paul Papel, you would remember the blockbuster film, Baby Shower. Yeah, that is him.
Although Papel is not yet that popular within Nollywood, he is worth more than his onions. Despite the fact that he had a coterie of a super talented cast at his disposal, his directing is certainly the major icing on the cake.
Papel who is also a renowned cinematographer himself showed us what classic cinema looks like. His camera works will blow your mind.
I total recommend this film and I give it a whopping 9/10 for its stunning Cinematography. 7/10 for a compelling plot and hard-hitting dialogue and gritting story telling technique. I bet you will not take your eyes off the screen even as you are held in open-mouth suspense.
Go see the film and we would like to hear from you afterwards.