Blood Vessel (2023)

Blood Vessel (2023)

A brutal Nigerian survival thriller where escape is possible, but only at a cost



Drama, Thriller
Alex Budin, Bimbo Manuel, David Ezekiel
118 min


I need to lie down after this.

What it's about

After their town Nembe in Nigeria is devastated by oil pollution, six people decide to leave. Stowed away on a boat headed to Brazil, they hope for better lives, unaware of the dangers ahead of them.

The take

Pollution disproportionately affects developing nations, and when governments continue to allow the lackluster waste management processes of large-scale industries, sometimes the only option is to leave. That’s what the six protagonists do in Blood Vessel, though escaping the situation isn’t as easy as it sounds. The first half starts out fairly slow, as we get to know the group, but it’s all to bring about emotional devastation as the film unfolds into violent ends. While certain plot elements don’t have a neat resolution, and certain technical aspects sometimes feel distracting, Blood Vessel works through the strength of its six lead performances.

What stands out

With its premise, there was no way Blood Vessel would be lighthearted, but the way the story unfolds is startlingly bleak and depressing. It takes a while to get to the violence, giving us nearly an hour to get to know the six protagonists and their backstories, like Degbe and Boma, whose protesting went awry, Tekema and Olotu, brothers secure their passage, and Oyin and Abbey, who were in love and flee from Oyin’s disapproving father. And because we get to know them fairly well, it’s heartwrenching to see how their stories end up, even when distracted by the special effects and the cartoonishly evil villain Igor. Blood Vessel is able to make most of the plot work by focusing on its leads.


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