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Tribeca 2018 Review: “Nigerian Prince” (2018) ★★★★★


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Who do we become after getting a privileged life? What happens when the new life in a new country makes us forget where we are originally from? What about the culture, colors and people we left behind? Does it really matter when we are no longer with them? “Nigerian Prince” is one of those films that brilliantly explain why we must belong to our original culture and why we should not. It gives both sides of the story where each of them will be valid. But in the end, life is about survival, whether you have money or not. It just happens that those who have less have to struggle the most…

The film follows Eze, first generation Nigerian-American who is sent back home to live with his aunt in order to understand who he really is, to learn to live in the Nigerian style, and even to struggle if required. Realizing that his four weeks’ trip to Nigeria might last much longer, the teenager teams up with his cousin Pius, who is known as a Nigerian Prince scammer who scams foreigners to earn money for his living. Thinking that this union might help him to get enough money for his trip back to America, the man will find himself in more trouble than he could anticipate. But in his mind the only thing that matters is the end result and everything else can be wealthy in between.

Grace, Eze’s aunt, is an absolutely funny woman, intelligent and uncompromising. Her way of dealing with Eze’s reaction when he realizes that he will not only have to share a bed with Grace, but also spend his evenings in a home that has no electricity. No social network or ability to check emails or to surf the internet, the young man is in an unthinkable shock, demanding for his immediate return to the advanced America where there is no problem of electricity.

Pius is a smart and energetic man who wastes his talent by scamming people for the last 12 years. The irony of the story is how determine Grace is to open Eze’s yes and introduce him to his culture while her son is literally getting arrested all the time but is released because the police chief is smart. He is not arrested because of Pius committing the crime, but because he did not share the money he earned from scamming.

Corruption shown at the highest level through humour, Okoro’s masterpiece brings an insight into the corrupted world, organized crime and international scam emails, which I am sure if you check the spam folder, has been received by you and everyone else who owns an email address. By admitting to that many viewers it is a made up story and that there is no such thing as the one described in the movie may never ever occur in the real world.

But to correct that part, I could easily relate to everything captured in Nigerian Prince with what happens in my country or the countries we share nearby borders with. Scams or robbery won’t occur just like that, because the police officers in our part of the world are not as nice as in the western part, that’s why when the scam happens there should be zero expectation of it to be solved whatsoever, and Nigerian Prince strongly emphasized that.

In conclusion, “Nigerian Prince” is an exquisitely made film that literally must be seen by anyone who is not aware of what happens in foreign countries or are not aware of the different level of corruption. It is funny but a sad movie at the same time. Brilliantly written lines and perfect direction sets an example for the future generation regarding the importance of knowing where we used to belong. But in reality, it is the choice that must be made by every individual whether they want to know about their homeland or not. But in case of Eze, it felt that he took a privileged life for granted which lead to his mother’s decision to send him away from America to see poverty first before admiring the existence of money.

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