PRODUCER: DAMILOLA MIKE-BAMILOYE
DIRECTORS: YEMI ADEPOJU & ISAAC FEMI-AKINTUNDE
CAST: SEUN ADEJUMOBI, OMOLARA AYOOLA, TOLULOPE MIKE-BAMILOYE
REVIEWER: IFIOKABASI OKOP
The Mount Zion Film Productions (MZFP) has, in recent years, undergone a great transformation in the production of her films, with fresh, relatable stories, terrific acting and fantastic cinematography. Damilola Mike-Bamiloye took the Christian film industry in Nigeria beyond what his father started, thereby sparking the interest of many to watch their films and have their lives changed.
“The Train”, a biopic on the life of the founder of The Mount Zion Film Productions, Mike Bamiloye, was highly anticipated since the beginning of the year when Damilola made the announcement on his social media pages. It was released May 3, 2020 on Damilola’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGyPHwlkRV_Ai7aLRXpXJow) and has since generated testimonies, raves, reviews and trends all around the country.
The film chronicles the life of Mike Bamiloye from his childhood to the early years of his ministry. It is divided into different chapters depicting various stages of his life; his childhood, education, friendships, marriage, ministry and his absolute trust in God’s will for his life and calling. “The Train” is an enthralling story that holds your interest for its almost three-hour duration, soaking in every step of Mike’s journey, leaving you spell-bound.
The cast of the film is well put together and the acting effortlessly delivered. I would imagine the work put into that, given the fact that they portrayed real people, some of whom are still alive. Seun Adejumobi, who plays the older Mike-Bamiloye, was perfect for the role as his delivery of a wide range of emotions were realistic. You’ll root for him, cry with him, laugh at him and pause the movie to pray the times he takes those proverbial leaps of faith. The “Agbara Nla” herbalist scene is excellently recreated and it shows the level of dedication this actor put into his work. The child actor, Oluwasola Peter, who plays the younger Mike-Bamiloye, is a delight to watch; his mischievousness cracked me up and his childish innocence endeared many viewers to him. Omolara Ayoola is brilliant in her role as Mike’s older sister, living and breathing her character in each scene, bringing her A-game to make her performance memorable. Tolulope Mike-Bamiloye perfectly embodies the character of Gloria Bamiloye with apt genteelness and grace that made me fall in love with her character.
Other elements in the film have great attention paid to them. Set in the 1960s to 1990s, the film’s set designers, costumiers, makeup artists, location managers put in a lot of hard work and creativity into making sure it felt like a period film. The sets, costumes, hairstyles, props- TV, radio, currency, telephone, lanterns, cameras, kitchen plates- were all from the 90s. The Ilesa dialect of the Yoruba language Mike Bamiloye grew up speaking is used for a greater part of the film, showing the attention the filmmakers gave to the little details.
The cinematography is well-thought out. It does not just tell a person’s story, it uses the environment as a character, depicting its aesthetic in relation to a scene’s emotion or action. Music and sound is the heart of this film. Joshua Mike-Bamiloye channels his awesome creativity in highlighting the emotions in each scene through his choice of sound and, of course, there were scenes that moved me to tears. The music was largely responsible for that. The reworked version of “Oruko Jesu O Tobi” is superb and the theme song, “The Train”, done in collaboration with Lawrence Oyor is timely, provocative and contemplative.
“The Train” scores a high point by not being preachy but ends up passing across a great deal of messages through its casts’authentic, passionate performances. This film relentlessly opens you up to the truth that God’s will and way is the perfect path and that the bigger-than-life calling we have can be successful if we trust Him, foolishly. Mike’s ministry was an uncharted territory but he believed God for the strength needed for his journey.
“The Train” (WATCH HERE) is a classic that has set a new standard for the Christian film industry whose future productions certainly have big shoes to fill.