In Let Karma, Biodun Stephen and her cast are handicapped by a safe story.
Biodun Stephen is known as one of Nollywood’s most captivating screenwriter. If you are a regular consumer of Irokotv movies then you must have enjoyed some of her stories, from the well-written Sobi’s mystic to the poorly produced Glimpse; still a good story, but handicapped by its production budget.
Many cinema fans do not get to enjoy this writing wiz, only a few films she penned have been released in cinemas – The Visit and Picture perfect. Both were praised for their refreshing storytelling.
However, Biodun Stephen has been grooming another skill behind the camera – directing. Let Karma is the second movie she will be directing that gets a cinema release; Seven and a Half Date is the first. As a director, she is giving the romantic genre in Nollywood a different twist with her love for suspense.
Let Karma tells a story of betrayal, infidelity and well, Karma.
It mirrors the lives of two couples: Daniel (Blossom Chukwujekwu) and Ene (Aisha Mohammed), and Anthony (Daniel K. Daniel) and Gabi (Bisola Aiyeola). Both women are friends and ditto for the men, who are both cheating on their wives.
Daniel’s cheating is because of Ene’s continuous nagging and need to control her husband because she doesn’t “want to be one of those women who don’t have control over their husband.” Ene’s need for control is born out of a personal trauma: her dad’s cheating on her mum. Anthony, on the other hand, is an unrepentant cheat. Karma got to both men in the end.
Biodun Stephen used her love for suspense to fine effect here. Her minimal use of false suspense worked flawlessly. Also, she avoided the trap of dwelling too much on it to avoid frustrating viewers. One mainstay in Biodun Stephen’s works is a certain preachiness or a conclusion that wants viewers to learn lessons from the actions of the film’s main characters. This works against her here, because not every man that cheats suffer for doing so.
Also, the movie dragged in the third act and ended predictably. There was no element of surprise, a deviation for her. Maybe because she did not pen the movie. The screenplay from Sally Richard and Michael Garuba has worrying stereotypes and folds the director hand on having a climaxing ending; instead, it bets on its comic relief, romantic scenes, and little preachiness to keep things going.
The main cast comprising of Daniel K. Daniel, Aisha Mohammed, Blossom CHukwuejekwu, and Bisola AIyeola put in strong performances. Daniel K. Daniel was very charming in his role as playboy while Blossom does okay in his role as a “reasonable cheat”; he is a brilliant actor, no doubt, but this script did not give his character the sophistication it begs for. But maybe Let Karma does not need sophistication, maybe the safe approach works perfectly since it is a Nollywood romcom.
One just wonders how intriguing this movie will be if there were more complexities to the characters – especially Blossom Chukwujekwu’s Daniel – or if it ended with a big surprise, as expected of Biodun Stephen. In conclusion, Let Karma has the potential to be a terrific romantic thriller but instead settles for a typical Nigerian romcom – safe, easy, and predictable.