Prior to the screening of Turning Point, director Niyi Towolawi came onto the stage and claimed: “This is one of the biggest and most important moments for African Cinema.” This was, after all, the first time Hollywood and Nollywood have collaborated for a full feature-length film, with stars of African cinema acting alongside Hollywood alumni such as Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, The Crow).
So how does the world’s first Hollywood/Nollywood film fare? Strangely baffling is the answer. Turning Point is an odd little film without much substance or direction, but the fact that it tries desperately to have both shows that there is something admirable about its production, even if the film is riddled with problems.
The film begins in Nigeria, and swiftly moves to New York where successful businessman Ade (Igoni Archibong) swans around like a modern day Casanova, trying to bed any woman whom he lays eyes on. Working for his girlfriend’s father (Ernie Hudson), Ade is treated with suspicion due to his race, and spends the film trying to convince everyone that “not every Nigerian is a criminal”. Suddenly the film becomes a race drama, but this barely lasts two minutes before the film abruptly returns to its comic roots.
Ade’s overbearing mother orders him back to Nigeria to meet his new bride (cue one of the most bizarrely orchestrated sexual encounters since The Room). Inconsistencies in character are rife throughout the film; Ade is reluctant to marry, but then without the slightest hesitation, is taken with his new bride. Forgetting and ignoring his fiancée back in the states, nobody appears even mildly concerned at Ade’s sudden relationship, until he returns to America with his tempestuous bride.
The film’s soundtrack is repetitive, whilst the editing and choice of effects are haphazard at best. Furthermore, the plot becomes even more ludicrous, leaving the viewer no choice but to accept that this is a world where logic or rationality isn’t an option. Don’t expect any intricate storylines for Turning Point. Those outside the intended African audience will fail to understand many of the inside jokes in the film. However, there are a few laughs (some deliberate, some not) and just about enough charm to ensure the film doesn’t fail miserably.
Watch the trailer for Turning Point here: