Fishbone is a fast-paced story of a powerful counterfeit drug woman.
Her business is simple. Get counterfeit drugs, re-label them and whisk them to the market at ridiculous prices.
Shaffy Bello plays this drug woman who is known as Mama Tee and with her loyal boys, nothing can stop them from breaking the law.
Why? Like any powerful citizen who is doing dirty business in a country you have got to have high connections – “Oga’s at the Top”
Mama Tee has ticked that box, so no problems there – except she has got no connections with Karma and yes. It came for her in two sharp stabs.
Fishbone is written and directed by Editi Effiong.
Quick flashback here. Editi is the executive producer for Up North but before venturing into the film world he’s got a chunk of experience at telling stories for corporate clients in his self-started ad agency as far back as 2002.
This time it’s different – Fishbone is 30 minutes length longer than the normal advert brief template.
For a first time attempt at long-form storytelling, this is more than decent and shows that debut director has got an eye for detailing.
From the opening scene which sets the pace of the film nicely to the not enough look at the drug lab which was built.
One can clearly see that Editi has a good sense of how to build a world on paper and most importantly translate it to the screen without fail.
The dialogue in this short film is also a delight. The characters are relatable and exhibit typical Nigerian traits to a fault.
One particular stroke of editi’s odd writing is where the counterfeit drug lord is complimented by the inspector played by Etim Effiong.
Instead of making the character smile and accept, he rather opts for her to say something that hints who she truly is.
Screen Performances lead by Shaffy Bello and Etim is convincing enough to pull us in the grim shady world they live in and one thing that keeps the story going is it’s an amazing sound design done by DJ Clem.
Domestic films especially don’t yet know how to use music to elevate the emotions of a scene but fishbone did good in that aspect.
Drone shots, as well as Femi Awojide cinematography tricks in this short film, is part of the brilliance that aided in this nice dose of storytelling. We also salute the editor for her sharpness as always.
A film is without it’s flaws.
Story-wise, everything was going smooth until we reached the beginning of it’s climax which shows how the villain is about to get caught by our very smart inspector.
How did he know her name to be” Madam Tope” all of a sudden instead of Mrs. Willams as seen when they meet in the dirty slums that host the laboratory hideout.
Why was schoolboy conveniently placed in that hospital at a crucial moment?
What logical errand criminal would go see their employer after being released from interrogation: To deliver a message ? okay.
But could the message not have been passed with a phone call?
The other is also how the daughter of Mama T was eavesdropping on the truth.
This revealed how her mom is a murderer that killed a baby – Their grandchild. The above was lazy writing and a better job could have been done to reveal that plot twist moment.
Asides from the above, the short film got the job done.
It passed the core message to the audience in a nice dose of storytelling in 25 minutes or less
Watch Fishbone here
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