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B Side, Film

Brotherhood Looks Familiar? Here’s Why

Brotherhood adapts its borrowed elements to fit the Nigerian story it tells. Here are the things you might have seen somewhere before.

  • Fancy Goodman
  • 6th February 2023

Jade Osiberu’s Brotherhood came to Amazon Prime in January this year. People, like me, and presumably many others, that were unable to see it in the cinemas were able to access on the streaming platform. There have been a lot of hype about the film, but here’s the truth: it looks too familiar. Borrowing elements from other films is not a negative thing, and just as Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists borrow, great artists steal”. Brotherhood adapts its borrowed elements to fit the Nigerian story it tells. Here are the things you might have seen somewhere before.


 1. Sibling rivalry


Brotherhood follows the story of twin brothers, Wale (Falz) and Akin (Tobi Bakre) Adetula who find themselves on either side of the law. While Wale chooses to make something meaningful out of life by joining the Lagos State Special Weapons and Tactics unit, Akin decides to be a criminal.  As a result, each twin repeatedly clash and argue over the other person’s life choices. We’ve seen sibling rivalry take different forms in other films. Michael and Fredo in The Godfather II; Thor and Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise; Dom and Jakob in Fast & Furious 9, and Esther and Gloria in Blood Sister I and II all have rivalries. 


 2. Justice vs crime


 Another thing we are all well too familiar with is Justice vs Crime. Wale and his team pursue the notorious “Ojuju boys” gang, who have been wreaking havoc in the community. You’ve seen it in many films, only that they were titled differently ー Se7en, Batman, Silence of the Lambs. 


 3. Gunfights, and butt kicking


Fast and Furious, Die hard, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Matrix, Kill Bill, and even Omo Ghetto: The Saga all have action sequences involving gunfights. Brotherhood, like other crime or thriller Nollywood films that are being introduced to our screens, have similar action sequences.  




4. Kids losing their parents at a young age


Batman and Blood Diamond have characters who lose their parents at a young age. If you’ve seen these films, there might be no surprise that Brotherhood’s opening sequence looks familiar. The film opens with a car driving on a lonely road, before it is stopped by criminals who end up killing the parents of Wale and Akin. 


5. Losing a loved one


In real life, we experience the loss of people we love sometimes. Since films are meant to reflect reality, it is a no-brainer that we see it often in films.  Detective Nurudeen Gobir loses his wife in King of Boys; and Spiderman loses his girlfriend Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spiderman. Brotherhood is no exception, as Wale eventually loses his father-in-law in a gunfight. 


6. Girl in the group


The Smurfette principle is a practice in media used to include one woman in a team of only males. In Brotherhood, Goldie (Toni Tones) is the only woman in the Ojuju Boys group. As a matter of fact, she is referred to as “first lady”. It’s a familiar trope. Women in other films with male-dominated groups are Deborah (Lily James) in Baby Driver, Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) in The Silence of the Lambs, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) in Guardians of the Galaxy, Hermione (Emma Watson) in Harry Potter.

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