A Mother’s Revenge: Our Review of ‘Orah’

Posted in Movies by - February 11, 2024
A Mother’s Revenge: Our Review of ‘Orah’

How far would you go to get revenge? How far is far enough?  Nigerian-Canadian writer and director Lonzo Nzekwe asks that very question in his latest film Orah. The answer for most of us is closer to a shade of grey than it is black or white, even when family is involved, but Nzekwe weaves a tale that shows both sides of the coin.

Orah tells the story of Orah Maduka (Oyin Oladejo, Star Trek: Discovery), an illegal immigrant and taxi driver in Toronto who is doing everything she can to get her son to join her in Canada. This includes laundering money for a Nigerian criminal named Bami Hazar (Lucky Ejim).  When Hazar offers to bring her son into the country if her son does a favour for him she agrees. When the plan goes south and her son is killed Orah looks for revenge. And when the authorities can’t help she decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the surface Orah looks to be your typical revenge thriller. This is what you might think it is if you do nothing but watch the trailer and read the description. That’s not surprising either, because it could have very easily gone the way of a typical action flick. It could have had unrealistic action sequences and corny one-liners, but Orah is far from that. The movie will surprise you with some of the twists and turns it takes. Whatever you do, don’t go into this film expecting high-octane action. What you get instead is gritty, real life drama that could easily tell any one of our stories if misfortune happens to find us. While the story is interesting and keeps you hooked, it’s the performance of the star that keeps you watching.

Oladejo plays Orah in a way that you really care about her. At times she comes off as cold and impassionate. But as her story unfolds you really find out why she’s the way she is. It’s the scene later in the film, where she interacts with her mother, when cracks start to appear in her persona. There, you really get a good understanding of how hard it must have been to play the role. She projects feelings, even if she’s not displaying them in ways you would usually expect. That is not easy to do. In this film she shows that she’s more than just another Star Trek actor.

If there’s one complaint about the film it’s that while it’s supposed to take place partly in Toronto, you can clearly tell that the city is not Toronto. Even people who don’t live there can clearly spot that filming took place somewhere else.

It’s refreshing to see a film like Orah that tells a well known type of story in a different, unexpected way. It’s also great to see new faces who have the potential to go far, instead of seeing the same old same old every time out. Nzekwe has a great future ahead of him if he keeps making quality films like Orah.

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While Roderick has only been writing movie reviews for a relatively short time, he's been a fan of film for as long as he can remember. It's a love affair that started when he saw Star Wars at a drive-in theatre in Kitchener when he was four years old. In the past decade he's fulfilled his dream of interviewing celebrities, attending red carpets events at festivals such as TIFF and writing reviews for outlets such as Realstylenetwork.com. He's always on the hunt for the next big thing to hit the screen.
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