2015 has been a good year for Nigerian Cinema…. The year began with a certain Nigerian movie becoming the highest grossing movie in Nigerian Cinemas PERIOD!
Although I’m not the biggest fan of said movie, I was impressed by the accomplishment. It reiterated the somewhat established notion that Nigerians are big fans of ‘light movies’. I mean not many people want to leave the hassles of Lagos life, walk into the Cinema and engage in mental work trying to figure out a movie.
While this is not the healthiest audience approach to improving creativity in the industry, I believe it reminds filmmakers that like any other product, the needs of the market have a way of shaping the product.
Well, before I veer too much into deep analogies, let me get on with my review.
I have seen my fair share of Nigerian movies at the cinemas this year, and can confidently say that in the few years that I have monitored the offerings of the local industry, 2015 has been the BEST!
I believe we have had more films premiere in cinemas this year than any other and I can stomp my feet with righteous indignity to state that a large percentage of them have been quite good if not awesome. See Dry, Gbomo Gbomo Express, The First Lady, Lunch Time Heroes, Road To Yesterday, Taxi Driver (Oko Ashewo), Dazzling Mirage just to name a few. Actors have flexed their creative muscles, Directors have delivered unconventional works, scriptwriters have improved their craft and producers have realized that quality is key. All this does not even take into account the gems that were screened at the Africa International Film Festival that are yet to hit cinema screens.
Anyway, I digress again. Please don’t go yet, read the rest!
Over the past weekend, I was invited to the screening of Out of Luck, a movie that follows the adventures of a young lottery operator whose life turns upside down when a local gangster insists that he pays out on a lottery he did not win.
The Cast includes Tope Tedela, Linda Ejiofor, Femi Branch, Niyi Johnson, Wole Ojo, Adesua Etomi, Chigurl and Jide Kosoko.
After the much talked about ‘Falling’ (which I did not get a chance to watch, unfortunately), I was really interested in seeing what Director Niyi Akinmolayan had to offer. Let’s just say sacrificing my Sunday evening siesta, burning the scarce commodity called petrol and getting lost trying to get to Filmhouse Cinemas Apapa was actually not a bad offer for my experience with this movie.
This is the second time I’m seeing the pairing of Tope Tedela and Linda Ejiofor on screen in the last one month. And it seems that they are getting better at being an onscreen couple. Could we be having our own case of Jennifer Lawrence/Bradley Cooper?
I praise Linda Ejiofor’s performance and respect how much she has evolved from that shy youth cooper in ‘The Meeting’. I expected that such a pretty young lady would easily be typecast as the Rich-Oyinbo spoilt girl being fawned over in various movies, however I have been proven somewhat wrong with her last two movies; she’s still being fawned over (our very own Helen of Troy), but she’s picked roles that see her play characters that are way more than the trophy damsel causing havoc everywhere.
Tope Tedela is constantly proving that he is here to stay, and is willing to take on roles to prove his worth as an actor. In Out of Luck, he is somewhat overshadowed by Niyi Johnson’s character, but he manages to hold his ground. Talking about Niyi Johnson, this is the first time I believe I am seeing him in anything, but I can assure you that if you enjoy nothing else in this movie, his character Yinka is one that you will enjoy.
The rest of the cast produced such an impressive performance keeping the entire movie paced adequately and never dulling. We had a formidable villain in Femi Branch, one that was smart and brutish in equal measure, we had Wole Ojo playing ‘Mr Ungrateful’ and feeding our need to cast blame; we also had ‘psychotherapist’ Adesua Etomi mending relationships left right and centre.
One of the issues I tend to have with movies is the need to have popular actors playing redundant characters, but this is not an issue for Out of Luck as each person brings something worthy to the finished product.
I must really commend Chinaza Onuzo, the Writer of the movie, as the plot is well pieced together, flows smoothly, and has no glaring loose ends (which are common place these days); I guess his experience as a financial analyst ensures that things must add up. Where some of the other recent offerings in Cinemas have had somewhat half cooked plots (Taxi Driver, I am seriously eyeing you here), this movie genuinely tells a good tale from start to end.
It only suffices to say that I had a good time watching Out of Luck and thus recommend you taking some time to go watch it. . The movie premieres in Cinemas this Friday, December 4, 2015 and may just make up for the last bad experience you had with a Nigerian movie in the Cinema.
Don’t forget, if you end up watching it (which you should), leave your comments below and spread the word.