In Shanty Town, courtesans struggle to earn their freedom and escape the world of corruption, but a cruel criminal stands in the way of their dreams. The series is now streaming on Netflix.
Scar, a ruthless criminal, manages the illegal activities of an influential man, Chief Fernandez. 18 years ago, Scar saved the life of a woman and her daughter. Today, he is known for his debauched lifestyle and for controlling his courtesans with an iron fist.
Jackie, a courtesan who manages to pay for her freedom, encourages her friend, Shalewa, to do the same. However, Scar does not allow Shalewa to buy her freedom and leave this life behind.
Inem, who was sent to prison by Scar and assumed dead, contacts Ene, one of the high-ranking women in Scar’s business, after getting out. Ene wants Inem to take the money she is offering and disappear, but Inem refuses to do so without settling her score.
When Chief Fernandez orders Scar to shut down his major businesses, he sets in motion a series of events that cannot end in any other way than in betrayal and bloodshed.
Chidi Mokeme fully embraces the character of Scar. He is convincingly cruel, sly, and full of anger. He plays the part of the villain so well that he successfully gets the viewers to despise his character.
Ini Edo as Inem gives a great performance in some scenes, especially in the scenes where Inem is vulnerable and defenseless, but in others, she stumbles; her performance is not consistent.
Nse Ikpe-Etim, who plays the part of Ene, and Nancy Isime, who plays Shalewa, also play their parts well.
The series’ portrayal of this world is riddled with violence, which makes it seem real to the viewers. It manages to show that for these women, violence is not an anomaly but a part of their everyday lives.
It also depicts different kinds of complicated friendships. Jackie is ready to share her meager savings with Shalewa to help her buy her freedom, and Ene would keep aside her insecurities and help her rival when she needs it.
The show never succeeds in getting the viewers invested in the plot. The plot development is also not smooth; events occur one after the other, but the link between them is missing.
There are too many plotholes for the viewers to ignore, and even the ending does not tie the loose ends. Some of the actions of the characters are not driven by any motivation other than to facilitate the furthering of the story.
The action scenes also cannot get the viewers interested, as they appear too rehearsed to be real. Additionally, the overly dramatic scenes do not leave an impact on the viewers. The courtesans gaining freedom could have been a powerful scene if not for the dramatics.
The series tries to show the exploitative life that courtesans live, but the depiction is problematic in itself due to the obvious presence of the male gaze. The women are not merely sexual objects for the characters but also for the camera.
The elements of magical realism seem like they have been suddenly forced into the show. They do not blend naturally, as they are supposed to; instead, these elements stick out like a sore thumb.
The show tries to please its viewers with action and violence, as the plot is not strong enough to carry it, but it fails to do that. Additionally, its efforts to depict the plight of the women in the show, who are subjected to violence and exploitation, seem insincere.
The actors performed their parts well, but that is not enough reason to watch a show that has too many plotholes and characters whose actions seem to lack any real purpose.
Director: Dimeji Ajibola
Date Created: 2023-01-20 22:55