Rattlesnake – The Ahanna Story; A Poetic Tragedy.
After the Movie’s 2020 BIg Release, We Nigerians In Diaspora Have Waited Eagerly For This Movie To Drop On Netflix. And Finally It Did, It Creeped Up On Us While Sleeping At Night – Say no to spoilers, make sure you watch the movie before reading this because we are going to do Ekpo’s deep dive into one of the highest steamed Nollywood movies on Netflix “RattleSnake”.
Given the growing influence of Netflix in the Nigerian movie scene, it’s only natural to expect seasoned veterans in the movie industry to capitalize on this new and probably more profitable outlet to express their own vision without the various constraints that plagues most of the Nigerian movie industry. Ramsey Nouah takes advantage of this to the fullest and his vision really shines in his new movie; Rattlesnake – The Ahanna Story, managing to craft a very underrated gem of a movie.
If I had to describe Rattlesnake – The Ahanna Story with a phrase, that phrase would be “poetic tragedy”, it is clear from the opening dialogues of the movie which complements a haunting scene of a petty criminal being burnt alive as seen from the eyes of a child, establishes a running theme in the movie about memories that shapes a man, a sentiment that is perfectly echoed in the very last scene of the movie proving that the director knew what he wanted to do with this movie and went there.
Rattlesnake – The Ahanna Story at its core is a character focused drama, which is quite evident in the use of narration by Ahanna, the main character of the story – (played by Stan Nze), but it is also a weird hybrid of other genres with the first act switching up at the middle to a pseudo heist movie, the 2nd act had a little bit of comedy sprinkled here and there while also fleshing out the side characters and the 3rd act was just a full on mind trip, while all being able to carry it’s running theme and deliver a good ending. It had heart. I know some critics may dislike the use of narration from the man characters point of view, because it’s usually used to dump a whole lot of exposition but this movie did a good job of showing and telling, especially in the first act where it was more Deep, seeing the deaths that shaped his life, the narration technique also served different purposes all through the movie, it gave an insight to the Main character’s mind and how each decisions he made were formed, his thoughts and lessons, his resignation to fate.
I personally think the adverts for sponsored brands, for example Malt, were a bit too cheesy, but I think some people would find it as a comic relief as it made a very heavy scene light for the viewers and impossible to miss. Now I know Amstel malt comes in a light version, and is good for your blood sugar. The appearance of known lifestyle celebrities like; Nengi, charles of Play was a great add to the cast.
The entire story is metaphorical, and not just in a streamlined way. Ahanna’s (expertly played by Stan nlNze) nickname was “Snake”, which at first felt a little tongue in-cheek at first, given the title of the movie but the term “rattlesnake” wasn’t used once in the entire movie, instead, you gotta know why he was a rattlesnake the way he used people. A rattlesnake is unique for its tail that is used to lure prey or warn invaders and in the case of Ahanna, at various points of the movie, his tail became evident at every unexpected plot twist or betrayal. He was a man who after the tragic situations that led to his parents death declared that “there’s nothing left to live for ” and ran with that lesson all through to the end even though you’d think he changed. It was exciting and funny, dark and very thought provoking.
It was also quite political as most of the story’s driving force hinges on its social commentary as it mirrors the inequality of the classes in Nigeria, how the country treats criminals in different tax brackets, what it does to people, and how a combination of bad things can break a person fundamentally and even worse, affects everybody else even directly shape the next generation. “They are instances that shape the life of a man”. I loved how the movie opened with the first death that changed his life and how it ended with the first death that will change his son’s life. The irony.
I think it’s also important to add that I think Ramsey Nouah is creating his own multiverse with these movies because a character appeared once in this movie that loosely ties it with “Living in Bondage” , another movie he directed. He also plays the character. I hope to see more of this in future movies and maybe who knows a crossover?
Overall it’s a very well made movie and it’s really underrated for how good it is. 7.5/10, in all I’m sorta expecting a part 2 or continution especially with how the movie ended