Written and directed by Tomisin Adepeju, I Am Joseph follows one man’s internal struggle to come to terms with an unavoidable truth that will transform his life. Starring: Michael Akinsulire, Asmara Gabrielle, Dk Ugonna.
Depending on how much you think into the title and character names, you may start to quickly grasp where this is going, although unfortunately it isn’t going very far at all. The film takes an age-old story and simplifies it to such an extent that it’s essentially a character briefly making up his mind and it’s a real shame because the visual quality of what’s being made had the potential for much more.
The cinematography and direction show a huge amount of care and effort that has gone into creating the film, the latter being no surprise with it being Adepeju’s tenth short film. Visually, there’s no complaints which is impressive and it’s the strongest element that the film has to offer but it’s missing a stronger balance with the rest.
Unfortunately, the idea of taking an ancient story and modernising it, is more interesting than the execution, it just isn’t a story that needs to be told yet again, especially when every December, it’s endlessly trotted out to be recreated by children oblivious to the content and most of us had to go through one iteration of it. An issue that’s not helped by the clarity of how hard the film is trying, granted it does have a good edge of intensity to it through the score and direction but there’s an overriding sense of repetition.
Religion is always a tricky subject to tackle, and even when you’re pulling the story quite far from those roots, that difficulty still remains. I Am Joseph is an interesting concept but sadly, the end result is still a story that we’ve been told too many times before to retain any mystery or intrigue. A valiant effort from a talented filmmaker, that simply didn’t hit the right notes.