In ancient Yoruba tradition, when a king dies, and after 30 days when he is to be buried, a chieftain— The Elesin Oba (King’s Horseman) is to die to journey with the king in the afterlife. While the suicide ritual doesn’t really make sense to the ordinary person, it did to the ancient people of the Yoruba kingdom.
Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman is a movie adaptation of the stage play “Death and The King’s Horseman by Wole Soyinka ” based on true life events that occurred in Oyo in the early 90s.
Thirty days after the death of the king and according to tradition, he is to be buried with his Elesin who must commit suicide on that night to fulfill his duty as Elesin Oba, to accompany the king’s spirit to the afterlife or else the king’s spirit would wander earth which could cause chaos upon his people.
While you might be wondering why anyone would want to die with the king, the position is often reserved for a family and it comes with its perks like enjoying things befitting the king. They can choose to make grand requests which would be accepted, because they are the King’s Horseman.
Their power and authority even increases during the days after the king’s death, because they would be dying soon, so they should enjoy life fully. That was when Elesin (Odunlade Adekola) said he wanted the Iyaloja’s (Shaffy Bello) daughter-in-law to be, no one could object. He got the girl. Which led to trouble for him!
And then there was Simon Pilkins, the colonial master in charge of the community. Let’s not even talk about his and his wife’s disrespect for tradition. Putting on a masquerade costume as a ball attire and belittling the culture, ugh, the disrespect!
Anyways, he had gotten news of the suicide to happen from a local police man (Jide Kosoko), that’s how he went to arrest a whole Elesin where the passage rites was being performed. And while he had something good in mind, because the ritual didn’t make sense to him as it doesn’t you and I; why not let people do things according to their tradition?
As in, Iyaloja even came to speak to him, they even brought a dead body to the prison, but he still no gree. White people have strong head sha! He even made a statement that he ordered them to shoot on sight if they behaved badly. So he’d rather kill people than let one perform his duties? I don’t know what you think about that, but I’d rather he just let them do their thing. Elesin wasn’t being forced to die, that’s his destiny and he’s been preparing for it since forever, so what’s his own?
Elesin had a son, Olunde (Deyemi Okanlawon), who had studied medicine in the UK through the influence of Simon the police man, so he’s not that bad. Anyways, he was back in town cuz he had heard of the king’s death which meant his father’s as well. While he wasn’t on good terms with his father (we didn’t really get what happened), he had come to perform his burial rites and stuff.
On hearing the Pilkins were trying to stop his dad from performing his duties, and because he didn’t want the king’s spirit to wander, man killed himself o! It kind of didn’t really make sense to me though. Sorry! Elesin ended up committing suicide too, which also didn’t make sense to me because it’s like waste of life.
Elesin was supposed to say some words before death, he didn’t say that in neither his son’s ears (remember he died in his father’s place), nor did Elesin himself say the words before he committed suicide, which kind of makes everything a waste in my opinion, but we meuvee!
Now, how did I feel about the movie? I enjoyed it! I hope you will watch it or watched it in Yoruba, because that English translation wasn’t it for me. I’m Yoruba, so listening to English translations of these movies sounds like waste of tradition to me, lol. It just doesn’t make you feel the movie perfectly. Sorry if you don’t understand Yoruba, but I’d still advise you watch in the original language with an English subtitle!
Anyways, yea, I liked it. I loved the costumes, the richness in culture, the movie quality, audio, songs, everything was great. The actors really really did a great job, I could feel Odunlade Adekola’s emotion. The movie made me feel like I was in their reality, which is good acting! They all did super awesome.
Shall we rate an 8/10? I’m rating it that because I didn’t really like the sad ending, but it’s real life. I’m not really sure if there would be a part 2, but that’s Elesin Oba for now. It’s available on Netflix if you would like to see it, watch the trailer here.
So what do you think of the movie? What do you think of my review? Did you enjoy the movie? What didn’t you like about it? Would you like to watch it or is it a skip for you? Kindly let me know in the comments!
What movie would you like us to review next? Let us know.