Popular singer Niyola plays Tolani, a young woman in 1980s Lagos, Nigeria, who becomes involved in smuggling with a friend of hers.
Kunle Afolayan improves with each new film he creates; with Swallow, he weaves an engrossing tale about a woman who is forced into what she abhors when her world begins crashing down.
Starring popular singer Niyola, this drama captures the experiences of two friends living in Lagos in 1985. While Niyola's Tolani is a reserved woman who just wants to make a name for herself, her friend Rose (played by the talented Ijeoma Grace Agu) is a wild and adventurous lady who believes in taking advantage of every opportunity.
When Tolani's only source of income is cut off, thanks to her womanizing boss, she dares to venture into the world of drug peddling to survive.
The film is based on Sefi Atta's novel of the same name (the writer co-wrote the script alongside the director). I haven't read the book but the film got me hooked from start to finish.
When it really comes down to it, there is really nothing particularly outstanding about this movie. But it is its simplicity in presentation and execution that makes its message unmistakeably clear.
If I'm not mistaken, this is Niyola's film debut and in portraying the lead character, she gives a commendable performance. Her acting is quite convincing even though she could have done better in some scenes.
While Tolani is the protagonist, I daresay another character ended up stealing the show here. That person is none other than her friend Rose.
As Rose, the actress known as Ijeoma Grace Agu is simply amazing. With every scene, every line spoken, and every action taken, the viewer can't help but get enthralled by her. For me, she is the real MVP and I just wanted to keep seeing her do her thing.
Apart from a few lapses in one or two scenes where the 1980s setting wasn't properly depicted, I didn't quite see any major faults in this film.
The cinematography is an obvious improvement from Afolayan's previous films, the costumes are acceptable for the period the movie portrays, and the camera shots and angles are perfect.
Another thing I would love to point out is the prominent use of the Yoruba language and its cultural influence as seen in the advice given to the heroine by her father in flashback scenes. I can't say how much I love seeing this as it helps promote our cultural heritage to the rest of the world.
Nollywood films are still not where I want them to be when compared with some of the great works from Hollywood and others but with Swallow, Afolayan shows that we are getting there.