Movie Reviews

A’s Movies: ‘Swallow’ Review.

Swallow is a 2021 film based on a book written by Nigerian author, Sefi Atta and produced by award-winning actor and producer, Kunle Afolayan. It follows the life of Tolani Ajao played by Eniola Akinbo (Niyola) and her friend Rose played by Ijeoma Grace Agu. Waylaid by life’s pressures in 1980s Lagos, Rose becomes involved in drug smuggling with her street friend and must face the fallout. 

Netflix's Swallow (2021) Review: Social Drama Falls Flat

Kunle Afolayan uses Rose and Tolani to represent the decay in Nigerian society. Rose represents a part of the Nigerian society which has failed its citizens and is trying to survive in the failure. Rose tries by any means necessary to escape the poverty and harassment she has faced by going into drug smuggling to survive. Rose went through the dangerous route and she died in the process. In present-day Nigeria, we have people taking great risks to provide for their families and finding greener pastures just like Rose.

Tolani on the other hand decides to stay true to her morals and fights back at the system without it leading to her compromising her morals for anything. Tolani represents the hopeful people of Nigeria who are still fighting the system and not allowing it to consume them. Although Rose chose the path of smuggling drugs, you can’t help but have sympathy for her and everyone who is trying to find a way to survive in a decaying society.

Tolani and Rose are both women who have fought the system and suffered the consequences. From being sexually harassed in the workplace and having no one to fight for them their options are limited. They try to survive the best way that they can in a society that is not favourable to women and its citizens. A society that has pushed its citizens to do whatsoever they can to survive.

Nigeria failed Rose (like many of us in Nigeria) like when she fought her bosses sexual advances but got sacked, with no money to pay her bills, no one to assist her and nothing to lose, she resigned to her fate, got engaged in drug smuggling and lost her life in the process. In the same way, we can’t judge other Nigerians who are hustling and trying to provide a better future for themselves and their children.

Kunle Afolayan has done a beautiful work of portraying the decay of present-day Nigeria and it is only befitting that it is realized on Nigeria’s independence to highlight the issues everyday Nigerians are still facing. It is less about the picture but more about the message.

It is available to watch on Netflix.

Here are our ratings:

Clarity/Plot: 5/7



Set Production: 4/7 

Soundtrack: 5/7

Overall Movie Rating: 5/7

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Zulurang Kanwa a freelance writer and lover of all things film.

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