Blood Vessel Movie 2023 Review: A Tale of Survival

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Blood Vessel 2023 Movie Review
Blood Vessel 2023 Movie Review

A harrowing and gut-wrenching portrayal of survival. Six persons escaping a town ravaged by oil pollution clandestinely board a strange vessel that will alter the course of their lives forever.

Blood Vessel movie is a 2023 Netflix film directed by Moses Inwang, written by Jeffery Musa David, and produced by Roxanne Adekunle-Wright, Arafat Bello-Osagie, and Agozie Ugwu.

The story begins with a narrator Abbey (cast by David Ezekiel) describing with a sense of foreboding the paradise-turned-wasteland that Wayingi (the God who created) gave to earth. A town once filled with happy and content villagers seems to be clouded with a thick layer of despair. Dense greenery, tar-like gooey deposits on the shoreline, dead marine life, toxic fumes, and rebel militia make it quite obvious that the setting is Niger Delta. We will later learn that the community is Nembe.

Angry youths fueled by a growing need to put an end to the oil spill, incite riots, and wreak havoc in the town. Things take a dark turn when three friends snuck into the military quarters of Axis Oil to destroy the pipelines causing spillage. They set one of the soldiers ablaze with a Molotov cocktail and the next morning, Commander Kome gives a search order to his boys after the charred remains of their compatriot were discovered. As the presentiment of tragedy lingers and with the Commander’s new orders to unleash destruction if necessary, the city becomes unsafe for the youths.

Meanwhile in the backdrop of environmental degradation and violence, love blossoms between the narrator and his girlfriend Oyinbrakemi (Adaobi Dibor). Oyinbrakemi is forced into confinement by her father (Bimbo Manuel) to prevent her from seeing her beau Abbey. After learning she is pregnant with Abbey’s child, her hostile father matches off to his house with a cutlass. By some sheer luck, he passes an oblivious Abbey who is on his way to see Oyinbrakemi. The two elope after Abbey breaks her free from the house arrest.

A Group is Formed

Blood Vessel Movie 2023 Review

Two brothers, Olotu (Obinna Okenwa), and Tekena (Sylvester Ekanem) in search of a better life embark on a journey and bid their mother farewell. Boma(Jidekene Achufusi), and Degbe (Levi Chikere), the culprits behind the arson that took the soldier’s life are on the run. Youths were getting picked off the streets and into waiting vans, causing them to abandon their original destination and flee for safety. The four of them escape the military and find themselves in the company of the lovers Abbey, and Oyinbrakemi. It is discovered that Olotu and Tekena are planning to stow away on a ship and the rest agrees to pay for passage too.

All the chances of the six stowaways ever making it to the other side safely begin to dwindle the moment Igor (Alex Cyr Budin), a corrupt criminal with sociopathic tendencies boards his ship. What started as a promising trip soon became a nightmare. Mr P(Francis Duru), one of the ship’s crew and the person in charge of the stowaways suffers a mini heart attack and is escorted off the ship. Soon, the six of them give in to hunger and Degbe is sent up the ship in search of food.

He is captured and believed to be a spy hiding on their ship and is forced to reveal the location of the rest. Fearing that his continued lukewarmness might cause something damaging to happen to Oyinbrakemi and the baby, Abbey too climbs of out their hideout in search of food. The rest are captured and brought to the dining table where a treacherous Degbe is eating with a flourish. Doubting their claims of being stowed away by Mr P, Igor calls Mr P who denies ever knowing them. A group of six is suddenly reduced to five when Igor fatally shoots Degbe.

Things Take an Even Darker Turn

There are screams and tears and the next scene shows some of the crew members fleeing the ship on a smaller boat. In Cape Verde, the ship is stopped by port authorities. Igor bribes them and while this is happening, Boma fluidly pulls a knife out of one of the goons’ pockets and uses it to hold Igor’s sister captive. He kills her and a ferocious Igor skins Boma in a makeshift slaughterhouse while he sickeningly recounts his childhood to Boma.

Upon discovering that another stowaway is still hidden on the ship, Igor angrily sets up a knife duel for Olotu and his brother Tekena. Abbey creeps out of his hideout and gets in a fight with one of Igor’s goons and he kills the goon. Igor kills Olotu for refusing to kill his brother and throws Tekena overboard after shooting him in the thigh.

Not long after this defiant move, Abbey is tricked into saving Oyinbrakemi and painfully watches Igor shoot her in the head. He is thrown into the slaughterhouse where Boma who was earlier left for dead saves his life and asks him to continue fighting for his freedom before giving up himself. Abbey goes on a killing spree but is captured by Igor after passing out. While Igor is choosing the blades to skin Abbey with, Abbey escapes and releases gas into the chamber. This makes Igor weak and more delusional and Abbey kills him.

By morning, Abbey finds a drawer on the ship chock-full of dollar notes and returns to Nembe where he distributes backpacks of money to each of his dead friends’ families. He also learns Tekena made it back home after he was thrown aboard. Realizing the town is not yet safe, Abbey’s mother advises him to lay low in Lagos for a while. Oyinbrakemi’s inconsolable father distraught with grief, set off with a hired rifle to find the boy he believed killed his daughter. Just shy of a few seconds after Abbey’s departure, Oyinbrakemi’s father alights from a tricycle and aims his gun toward the retreating backs of Abbey’s mother and his sister.

What We Think about Blood Vessel Movie 2023

Blood Vessel movie 2023 was gripping and intense. While it was a gritty portrayal of violence and corruption, it also captured the harsh conditions the characters faced on the vessel. Which is the brutal reality of most Southerners in Nigeria. The choices they made for survival made the movie even more intense.

The narrator and central character, Abbey wasn’t that interesting. He was just a regular lanky-looking guy in a forbidden love and we liked how he was made brave in the face of death and unspeakable torture. Abbey’s girlfriend who was feisty at the beginning represented a softer side amidst all the chaos. Her tragic fate added more emotional weight to the story. She was the collateral damage we did not see coming because we were rooting for the couple to survive.

Igor executed the mobster role perfectly. His actions and brutality added to the psychological suspense. Making him recount his childhood trauma was a theme peculiar to most Hollywood thrillers. Like every crazy antagonist in mobster movies, another person outside the group makes no impression on them at all and the antagonist’s vicious acts are justified by a mental disease or abuse. Maybe because we expected Igor to spare at least a few people’s lives, his actions throughout the movie surprised us. Quite similar to Sam Dede’s role in The Black Book movie. However not as jarring as Chidi Mokeme’s role in Shanty Town; where he promises Mercy Eke freedom and ends up brutally killing her.

Each of the supporting characters contributed to the suspenseful storytelling, from the gradual escalation of tension following the town’s deterioration to the horrors aboard the ship. The duel between Olotu and Tekena kept us engaged. Degbe, though his screen time was short-lived, played the angry Niger Delta boy well.

We think the Blood Vessel movie 2023 was great overall. Ending the movie with a cliffhanger made it even more thought-provoking. We’re left wondering what happened to Abbey’s mother and sister. Or even Oyinbrakemi’s dad; did he fire the shot, was he arrested?. Nembe community did go about their business when Abbey returned, but what became of the oil spills?. It was part of the larger societal issues that set six people on a trajectory that will upend their lives.

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