Clash is a 2020 Nigerian-Canadian family drama co-written by Pascal Atuma and George Kalu, and directed by Pascal Atuma who also stars in the film as the main protagonist Chief Okereke.
Okereke arrives Canada from Aba, Nigeria to visit with his emigrant wife and two kids, bringing with him all the traits and ideologies that typify the Igbo man and his culture. What ensues is a clash of values, culture, and outrageous comedy.
Clash highlights Pascal Atuma’s remarkable filmmaking pedigree and why he’s one of the best Nigerian movie directors. However, he also played a starring role in Clash as Chief Okereke, a loving father, caught in-between enforcing his South-Eastern Nigerian Ideologies and accepting that things work differently in Canada. He put in in a rock-solid performance. Okereke’s wife Nneka (Omoni Oboli) was the wife of late elder brother. However, she remarried Okereke according to Ibgo customs and ordinances.
The story that sets the film in motion is great, the execution even better. Clash branches at virtually all the challenges faced by modern families in today’s reality. It may not be the first Nigerian movie to portray a typical Igbo man as raw and deeply rooted in his culture and principles, but it extends to showing the exciting traits of the Igbo people’s actual way of life. Two themes that kept popping up throughout was libation and how a man is supposed to put his family first.
Countless times, Igbo men transcending international borders have been portrayed as unrefined, resulting in forced humour, or humour “so-used,” it’s no longer funny to the audience. While Clash is not entirely exempted, it stands out for the subtlety of the device it uses to characterize Chief Okereke, the protagonist. Most of it felt natural.
The other time it could be said that Clash over-blew the action was when John, who’s been having dreams of visiting a playground with a strange man (his apparent biological father) upon realising that Chief Okereke is not his biological father and that his biological father was Chief’s late brother, resorted to using violence to force the truth out of his parents.
You’d expect someone with PhD to employ dialogue in addressing this kind of problem, but John rather pops up demanding the truth from his parents at gunpoint. Maybe that was a ploy to heighten tension, maybe it was a supposed twist. It felt far-fetched and it’s good thing it didn’t last.
Finally, the casting in Clash was great. Every person took to their character and task like foot to a sock. The humour was never lacking, and it was absolutely easy to track the message.
Clash captures reality the way that it is and still manages to keep you entertained, keep you engrossed for the best part of 90 minutes.
Final Verdict: 3/5
Clash is now available on Netflix.