HALF OF A YELLOW SUN: THE REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

REVIEW BY JK

I am a shocker, I am still yet to see 12 YEARS A SLAVE but as soon as I heard about this film, starring , I was in. HALF A YELLOW SUN looked beautiful and also starred Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose plus it was being released from semi-newish Australian distributor LEAP FROG FILMS who nabbed this film from the big guns. And I have to say a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to them. I totally loved this film, it is not without flaws but all of these are ovelooked and blanketed by the love, heart and beauty of the film. HALF A YELLOW SUN releases tomorrow, 27th March 2014, it runs for 111mins and is rated M. As a big bonus to you all, the lovely peeps at LEAP FROG FILMS are also giving us 10X double passes away to see it. 

 

Biyi Bandele, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle, John Boyega, Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu, Half of a Yellow Sun, Half of a Yellow Sun Review, Nigerian Film, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jason King
HALFOF A YELLOW SUN: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is a British Nigerian collaboration film based on the famous Nigerian novel by CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE set over the 60s and 70s in Nigeria. I truly hope it does well, firstly, it deserves it and secondly, Nigeria’s film industry is a new thing and if they can collaborate with the Brits to make a film of this calibre then I want more.

Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices. Olanna shocks her family by going to live with her lover, the “revolutionary professor” Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his devoted houseboy Ugwu () in the dusty university town of Nsukka; Kainene turns out to be a fiercely successful businesswoman when she takes over the family interests, and surprises herself when she falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle), an English writer. Preoccupied by their romantic entanglements, and a betrayal between the sisters, the events of their life loom larger than politics. However, they become caught up in the events of the Nigerian civil war, in which the lgbo people fought an impassioned struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic, ending in chilling violence which shocked the entire country and the world.

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN takes the sisters and their lovers on a journey through the war which is powerful, intensely emotional and, as the response of readers around the world has shown, it is a story which can touch everyone’s heart.

 

Biyi Bandele, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle, John Boyega, Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu, Half of a Yellow Sun, Half of a Yellow Sun Review, Nigerian Film, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jason King
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

The first thing I noticed about this film was Thandie Newton, have loved her ever since she starred in the Australian film Flirting way back in 1991, she is just so glamorous onscreen. And her and Chiwetel Ejiofor make a perfect couple, they look so good together and their chemistry works. Ejiofor is a master onscreen. I have always liked him and post 12yrs buzz he is the new man of the moment. He ticks all the boxes. Funny thing about this though is they are both annihilated onscreen by Anika Noni Rose, she plays Newton’s onscreen sister and every part of her performance eats the lens. She can be such a bitch but they way she does it will make you delight at her onscreen glow. And seriously, the woman deserves an award for those cheekbones alone 🙂

The film is an epic story, it is a romantic tragedy very very slightly in Gone with the Wind vein, it is nowhere near as grand but it fits the romantic war epic well. At its heart it is a romance film but the backdrops change throughout the film and while the original backdrop is romance while war brews when war arrives the film becomes a war survival film held together by heart and love.

 

Biyi Bandele, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle, John Boyega, Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu, Half of a Yellow Sun, Half of a Yellow Sun Review, Nigerian Film, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jason King
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

My first gripe is that up until the war part of the story kicked in I was unsure where the film was going. It was very much a well played romance in a different country and I had no issue with it, but then BAMMMMMM, out of nowhere the poop truly does hit the fan and the film takes a very dark turn and it is a race for survival with horrendous tragedy going on everywhere around. I had never read the book, I did not even watch the trailer prior to viewing so I had no idea what was going to happen.

My other gripe about the film is Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) – nothing with his performance, it is all about the character, so much of the film they are on the run and he has a job and a lot of the time still keeps heading off to do it wherever they are. I am not sure whether I missed it but I just saw or heard he had gone to work or was on his way back but for the life of me really have no idea what he did. He is a “revolutionary professor” so I just assumed he was fighting the cause, but the film lacked to embrace showing his cause and focused more on Olanna (Thandie Newton) and showing the unfolding tragedy from her perspective. This was a minor grievance and the film could have still survived if it embraced the politics of Odenigbo as well as the views of Olanna.

Seeing the film from Olanna was fine by me, it allowed Newton to shine and give the performance of her career. She was superb, it was just a shame (but also great in another way), that Anika Noni Rose was just more charismatic onscreen.

 

Biyi Bandele, Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle, John Boyega, Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu, Half a Yellow Sun, Half a Yellow Sun Review, Nigerian Film, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jason King
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

The film has been described by others as being very melodramatic and while I cannot compare it to the depth of the book I think it is copping the “melodrama” tag because it is not in-your-face. I can’t take my mum or elder people to see some of the modern films, especially war films, of this age. They are so violent and basically in-your-face that it makes them squirm. This film does enough to show you what is going on without showing you a rape or a beheading. I think it was well handled, call it melodrama if you choose, I call it classy.

Other things of note for this film. The music composed by Paul Thomson and Ben Onono is superb and really gives further heart to the entire film. The costume department I want to hug, the costumes, especially pre war are just stunning and the girls look amazing. John de Borman’s cinematography also hits the spot as does the Production Design by Andrew McApline who is known for films like The Piano, The Beach, An Education and Quartet. The guy knows how to make a film look good.

This film is beautiful and will appeal to the discerning and older crowd and it is something I would take my mum or nan to. It has true heart, great acting, people you like and will warm your heart and make you shed some tears.

 

4 Pops

 

With special thanks to LEAPFROG FILMS to win one of the 10x double passes to see HALF OF A YELLOW SUN you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer to the following question:

What is your favourite war torn romance film and why? (believe it or not there is actually heaps of them)  (It should be noted this competition will end on Sunday as I need to send you your tickets by Monday so you can get yo butt to the cinema next week.)

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then get with the times old timer haha – You can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jkdigitaldesigns@gmail.com telling me you don’t have social media 

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent in the next week. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.