According to Toronto International Film Festival review of Half Of A Yellow Sun movie adaptation of author, the Chimamanda Adichie novel of the same title, the director, Biyi Bamidele should be commended for making the best of the production value.
The film was premiered at TIFF on Sunday.
Starring Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joseph Mawle, Anika Noni Rose, Hakeem Kae-Kazim, John Boyega, Rob David, Babou Ceesay, O.C. Ukeje, and Paul Hampshire.
Despite this being his directorial debut Biyi Bandele has been able to get full production value out of the sets, locations and actors. Tracking shots are effectively used and there is a moment when the baby sits in the chair as the others go back and forth collecting their belongings for departure which is cleverly executed. Documentary news footage is inserted as well as maps to give the tale the proper context. A problem is that there are times where Half of a Yellow Sun feels like a melodrama but its heart is definitely in the right place.
The privileged life of twin sisters gets thrown into turmoil when civil war threatens the newly independent Nigeria.
At a family dinner the established order is disrupted when twin daughters Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) decide to follow their own paths rather than be used as assets to secure a government business contract for their father. The two young ladies go out to celebrate Nigeria gaining its independence by attending a high society party where Kainene meets and falls for a married British journalist named Richard (Joseph Mawle). Olanna has a lover Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who is a teacher and social activist.
The artillery shells, machetes, refuges and a lot of dead bodies all stem from a civil war which temporarily leads to a region of country becoming separate state. Personally there is unrest as Odenigbo has a drunken affair which results in him fathering an illegitimate daughter. Trying to keep things together domestically is the servant Ugwu (John Boyega).
Thandie Newton (2012) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) provide the emotional core of the film as the romantic chemistry between them is believable. Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) plays the role of the snobby and sharp tongue sibling to the hilt while John Boyega endears himself by portraying Ugwu as a naïve boy who develops into a man.