Movie title: King of Thieves
Release date: April 8, 2022
Producer: Femi Adebayo
Directors: Adebayo Tijani and Tope Adebayo Salami
Lead cast: Odunlade Adekola (Oba Adegbite Tadenikaro), Ibrahim Chatta (Oguntade), Femi Adebayo (Ageshinkole), Toyin Abraham (Queen Mobonuola), veteran Dele Odule (Otun) and, Lateef Adedimeji (Abegunde).
Femi Adebayo’s latest movie, ‘King of Thieves, is another Nigerian epic movie that has garnered rave reviews.
The movie has grossed over N200m at the box office within two weeks of its release.
‘King of Thieves’ sets a new peace for Yoruba movies because it richly explores the depth of the Yoruba culture.
It is a suspense-filled historical tale with an exciting twist dialogue that appeals to non-Yoruba speaking audiences.
It keeps the audience glued to the screen from start to finish.
Though a Yoruba epic movie, the movie’s appeal cuts across cultural boundaries.
Anthill Studios and Euphoria 360 produced King of Thieves, and it tells the exciting tale of heroism, betrayal, maternal love, and revenge.
In a kingdom where there is zero-tolerance for any form of social vices, especially stealing, lies the domain of the most dreaded thief in the history of Ajeromi.
To finish his coronation rites, the king must pay homage to the existing factions in his kingdom, the Ifa diviners, the witches, the wizards, the Songo oracles, the spiritual forces, and the heavenly beings known as masqueraders.
The King was king over all, loved by everything he watched over, touched by none, except for Ageshinkole.
Oba Adegbite Tadenikaro’s coronation was greeted with Ageshinkole’s several attacks, bringing the people to their knees in fear and trembling at his name.
Struggling with the reality of the ruin of his reign by Aheshinkole, Oba Adegbite, married to Queen Mobonuola, noticed that his wife sleeps in a weird position. Could she be a witch?
All attempts to bring normalcy to the land and salvage the people from the dreadful hands of Ageshinkole brought even more misery to the people, as Ageshinkole was insurmountable, defying the king’s supremacy.
Even the hunters could not dare Ageshinkole and his boys. It seemed to be a task for a man with a death wish.
He was so powerful that not even Songo could not withstand Ageshinkole’s might.
Abegunde, a skilful member of the masquerader, felt powerful enough to challenge Ageshinkole to a battle but ended in the belle.
The King’s only son, Adefimihan, whom he had kept a secret, was killed by Ageshinkole. That was the last stroke that broke the camel’s back.
Oguntade, the head of the hunters, stole a deer to save his wife’s neck. The King couldn’t spare him in his mourning mood when caught.
He had to face the consequences of his action, as the custom of Ajeromi had zero tolerance for stealing. He would kill him for stealing a deer or bringing the head of Ageshinkole.
What becomes the hunter’s fate whose love for his wife led him to the lion’s den, which is greater, the love of a mother or the fear of Ageshinkole?
The dialogue of the movie King of Thieves is predominantly in the Yoruba language, but the movie has an English narrator who tells the story from the first scene to the end.
The movie adopted the omniscient narrative technique. An omniscient narrative technique is a literary narrative technique where there is an all-knowing narrator.
The narrative style creates depth and a deep understanding of characters and brings an explanation and preview of their thoughts, actions, and emotions.
With Segun Arinze playing the role of a narrator in King of Thieves, the narrator is independent of the actual story, which helps deliver the backstory and the sub-stories so that they are not disjointed from the central idea of the movie.
A backstory is a literary technique used to bring to light events that have happened before the actual event.
Generally, King of Thieves employs many literary techniques, like flashbacks, Irony, suspense, Deux ex Machina and lots more.
King of Thieves richly explored situational irony and Deux ex Machina.
Situational irony occurs when audiences expect one thing to happen and something else happens.
In King of Thieves, when the witches, wizards, Ifa diviners, and the heavenly beings joined forced together to bring the notoriety of Ageshinkole to an end, the audience feels that was the last day of Ageshinkole, but the revise was the case.
On the other hand, Deux ex Machina is an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device.
In King of Thieves, one would less expect the villain Ageshinkole to be the protagonist at the end of the day. How did Ageshinkole, the notorious King of Thieves, save the day?
King of Thieves provides a tour through the different aspects of the Yoruba culture, from language to attires, to the music, dances, worship system, and general lifestyle.
The writers deserve some accolades for bringing all these together in a coordinated manner.
From the first few scenes of the movie, the storyline seems to be like every other regular villain versus protagonist movie, not until the film took a new twist through the effective use of the diverse literary techniques.
From acting to production to storytelling to prop quality to the costumes, effects, the acting, soundtrack and background chants, the impact on Ageshinkole’s voice, and music, the movie goes to show the growth of Nollywood over the years.
Also, the location was well sorted, and the mountains and the use of horses added aesthetic to the movie, giving it historic vibes.
The movie is praised for its incredible acting and top-notch storyline but falls short of apt subtitles. Some of the subtitle translations were periodically vague and insufficient and did not efficiently convey the meaning in the English subtitle as it is obtainable in the Yoruba language.
However, this is not entirely peculiar to King of Thieves. It is one of the linguistic translation problems in many movies, where the English translation or subtitle falls short of the detailed meaning used in actual acting language.
Also, the film’s first scene starts in a museum filled with foreigners to give an international appeal. Then Segun Arinze starts narrating the story to a curious white woman.
It was not the best approach to usher in a movie of this nature. They could have set it against a simple cultural backdrop reminiscent of “tales by moonlight,” which would aid the film to be more in touch with the story and let the intended lesson hit home better.
Lastly, the movie leaves the viewer wondering if Ageshinkole was a reincarnated human or a spirit being? That would have explained his powers and supremacy.
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