It’s a Bloody Affair
Run Sisters Run
The Catch -| Review Score – 3/5
For all the negative press around Netflix recently, the one think you can’t fault the streaming giant for is its international library. More than any other company in the “streaming wars”, Netflix have secured themselves a lot of interesting projects from across the world.
From the growing dominance of Korean dramas to Mexican telenovelas, Norwegian crime dramas and French thrillers, Netflix is unrivaled in bringing content to satiate every taste. Blood Sisters then is a fascinating series in many ways and feels like a natural extension on what Blood and Water offered last year.
For those unaware, Blood and Water is a South African teen mystery, with plenty of drama, twists and turns along the way. Blood Sisters then is another African original but this time showcasing the talents of Nigeria for this Nollywood production.
The story is rather straight forward and in many ways falls into the same trappings that other shows of its kind tend to slip up with. This is a melodramatic, soapy affair but if you can take to the tone and give this one a chance, there’s definitely enough to like with this.
The story centers on two women, Sarah and Kemi. Sarah is about to get married but unfortunately her husband is abusive and doesn’t exactly take kindly to her ex, Kenny, showing up at the big event. As things escalate, Kemi protects her friend – to devastating results.
One singular act sets off a catalyst of unfortunate events, as Sarah is forced to abandon her wedding and go on the run. Between corrupt officials, a shadowy family feud and plenty of drama along the way, Blood Sisters sees Sarah and Kemi made public enemy number 1. Fronting the case is Detective Joe, who soon suspects that there’s more to this story than first meets the eye.
Each of the episodes serve a specific purpose – as one may expect from the episode titles – and there’s actually a nice little twist at the end of season 1 too. For the most part the story works well, introducing all of our characters and sending them on this rollercoaster ride across the 4 hour-long chapters.
Sarah and Kemi are the real stars of the series and seeing them grow and evolve together as they go on the run is easily one of the stand-out parts of this. There are deeper threads of societal pressure, physical abuse and the power imbalance of marriage thrown in for good measure, and these themes are nicely interwoven around the characters rather than thrown in for the sake of it
On the other end of the spectrum though are characters like Detective Joe who, honestly, feels like he’s just been kicked out of a 1920’s noir crime caper. The first time we see him he sports a straw hat, toothpick and the the obligatory jazz music playing on the radio. No cigarettes though, which was a surprise.
Despite that though, Blood Sisters remains an enjoyable watch. The changed setting of Nigeria and, more specifically, Lagos allows for this tried and tested story to feel somewhat unique and there are some definite stand-out moments too.
When it comes to the technical aspects of this, Blood Sisters does slip up a bit. Now, some will see this as nitpicking and just being a film geek (sorry guys!) but the camera work is definitely a mixed bag.
The establishing shots; sweeping vistas of cityscapes and coastal zones, are excellent. The same, however, cannot be said for tight one on one conversations. The camera swings wildly, zooms in and out abruptly and generally feels unsettling during some of the more tense moments. Hearing a character discuss the abuse she’s been subjected to, while the camera wobbles, zooms in and out and then cuts back and forth again, is one of the more egregious examples of this.
If you can look past some of the aesthetic issues, Blood Sisters has a lot to offer. The show has a really nice ebb and flow to it, while the actors certainly give their all, even if there is a tad bit of overacting here! It’s not perfect, and some people will be put off by the simplicity of it all, but honestly, if this is a sign of more to come, we’re all for additional African productions making it onto the platform!
Verdict - 6.5/10