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“Lugard” Tackles Campus Cultism with Unprecedented Depth

This Nollywood addition captivates audiences with its exploration of the perilous world of campus cultism.
November 28, 2023
1:05 pm

The cinematic journey of ” Lugard” began in April 2021 with a theatrical debut, subsequently reaching a broader audience on Prime Video on Nov. 10, 2023. The film boasts an ensemble cast of Nollywood luminaries, including Zack Orji, Norbert Young, Gabriel Afolayan, Kalu Ikeagwu, Debo Adebayo (Mr. Macaroni), Rotimi Salami, and others.


“Lugard” unfolds a gripping narrative around Lugard, an exceptionally intelligent university freshman whose formidable intellect draws him into the treacherous web of campus cultism. The story takes a harrowing turn when Lugard’s involvement in a deadly assignment leads to the demise of a rival confraternity leader, setting off a relentless pursuit against him. Produced by 3 Knights Film in collaboration with B5Films and Monomania Entertainment, the film aspired to serve as a cautionary tale, aiming to educate the youth on the perils of engaging in various violent confraternities within the university setting.


The film’s narrative strength lies in its ability to balance the elements of brains, brotherhood, and betrayal. The storyline unfolds seamlessly, immersing the audience in the labyrinth of campus life while maintaining an air of unpredictability.


Debo Adebayo

Amidst its strengths, “Lugard” skillfully incorporates a thematic richness that extends beyond the conventional campus drama. The film bravely tackles societal issues, shedding light on the dangers of campus cultism and the moral implications associated with the choices made by its characters. It serves as a mirror reflecting the challenges faced by today’s youth, urging audiences to engage in a thoughtful reflection on the consequences of their actions. The narrative depth in addressing these broader themes contributes to the film’s significance within the context of contemporary Nollywood storytelling.


Moreover, the film’s compelling dialogue serves as a vehicle for conveying the internal struggles of the characters. The lines are not merely exchanges but rather poignant expressions that delve into the psyches of the individuals grappling with the ramifications of their involvement in cult activities. This nuanced dialogue adds layers to the characters, making their experiences more relatable and the narrative more impactful.


On the flip side, the film takes an approach that most viewers may find tiresome and tedious in conveying its message. Patience becomes a requisite as the film unfolds its plot, with the narrative only gaining momentum 40 minutes into the runtime. Furthermore, the casting choices emerge as another vulnerability in the film.


The antagonist’s portrayal is marked by impeccable acting, making it easier for the audience to connect with this character, unlike the protagonist who struggles to deliver lines with the necessary emotional depth. This raises questions about the casting decisions, particularly concerning the protagonist, whose consistent use of vivid makeup throughout the film’s runtime becomes a puzzling element.


The cinematography and editing is another challenge in “Lugard” that hinder the visual cohesiveness of the film. While certain scenes shine with evocative imagery, the occasional raw transitions and disjointed editing detract from the immersive experience. Cinematic finesse is crucial in maintaining the audience’s engagement, and the film falls short in providing a consistently polished visual narrative.


Kalu Ikeagwu

Additionally, the film’s reliance on cliché scenes, though a common device in many dramas, sometimes feels formulaic, diminishing the impact of pivotal moments. Originality in storytelling is crucial for maintaining audience interest and preventing predictability. Addressing this aspect would not only enhance the film’s narrative appeal but also contribute to a more memorable viewing experience.


Furthermore, the underdeveloped secondary characters, while contributing to the realism of campus life, need more exploration to avoid becoming mere placeholders in the narrative. Each character introduced, no matter how minor, has the potential to enrich the storyline. A more in-depth exploration of these characters could provide a more comprehensive understanding of the broader societal dynamics at play within the confines of the university setting.


In examining the fate of Tolu, the major architect behind Lugard’s downfall, the film hints at a broader societal commentary on justice and accountability. However, the unresolved nature of Tolu’s storyline leaves audiences yearning for closure. Did he face consequences for his actions, or did he manage to evade justice? Providing clarity on this subplot would not only satisfy viewers’ curiosity but also offer a more definitive resolution to an integral part of the film’s narrative.


The central theme of karma in the film, while intriguing, needs a more robust exploration. The film leaves questions hanging regarding the fates of Little, The Golden Wolves and the corrupt SUG, thereby leaving a void in the narrative’s resolution. Further delving into the consequences of their actions, whether as a cautionary tale or a reflection of the cyclical nature of karma, would add depth to the film’s thematic exploration.


Rotimi Salami

“Lugard” stands as a noteworthy cinematic endeavor, navigating the intricate world of campus cultism while addressing broader societal issues. Its thematic richness and compelling dialogue contribute to its significance within contemporary Nollywood. However, addressing the cinematic challenges, refining the use of cliché scenes, and providing closure to certain narrative arcs would elevate “Lugard” to a more refined and impactful cinematic experience.


Despite these shortcomings, “Lugard” successfully maintains its thematic. The narrative unfolds with a potent blend of suspense, drama, and psychological exploration. The film adeptly navigates the dark underbelly of campus cultism, presenting a cautionary tale that resonates with the challenges faced by today’s youth.


Runtime: 1 hour, 44 minutes, 05 seconds

Release Date: Nov. 10, 2023

Streaming service: Prime Video

Directed by: Tunde Olaoye

Cast: Zack Orji, Norbert Young, Gabriel Afolayan, Kalu Ikeagwu, Debo Adebayo (Mr. Macaroni), Rotimi Salami, Omowunmi Dada, Niyi Johnson and others.

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