By Morris Abdul Newton
Dir: Bolanle Austen-Peters
Starring: Gbenga Titiloye, Elvina Ibru, Osas Ighodaro, Sharon Ooja, Jide Kosoko, Femi Branch, Alex Ekubo, Toyin Abraham, Tana Adelana, Jimmy Odukoya.
There’s relatively not much wrong with moviemakers throwing punch lines from their yet to be released movies at us so we can digest them before the actual release. I guess it’s okay as long as we won’t end up being disappointed by the said movie. I mean, Kemi Adetiba did it with ‘King of Boys’ and it sort of paid off handsomely. So, with ‘Bling Lagosians’, this thing about the ‘one percent of the one percent’ would have worked except for the fact that we are not exactly sure it did.
‘Bling Lagosians’ tells the story of the Holloways. The family Patriarch, Akin Holloway (Gbenga Titiloye) struggles to keep the family’s inherited wealth and company afloat having to be lavish with the (old) money he had inherited. His equally extravagant wife, Mopelola (Elvina Ibru) is not left out of the ‘fun’ as her splurging tendencies also get the better of her. Otherwise, how do we explain a woman agitating to spend more than she spent on her 50th birthday on her 51st just to show off to her friends? Especially when the family patriarch says there is no money and they are living in dangerous times.
Then there are the daughters, Demidun (Osas Ighodaro), the business consultant and Tokunboh (Sharon Ooja), the Nollywood scriptwriter, who also have their own challenges too. The former with her marriage in murky waters and heading towards the rocks because of her promiscuity and the latter struggling for her family’s acceptance of her seemingly eccentric ways and “lowly” career path.
‘Bling Lagosians’ comes with the affluence and glam that is meant to be associated with it, but not all. There was some glitter lost in all the glamour. For instance, acting was not top-notch and so also was the story or execution. I found it difficult to find a proper villain in the movie and this is because of how the story was so split into several parts. What we had – the family inheritance story and the battle for St. Ives, Mopelola’s unnecessary birthday agitation and eventual planning, the fallouts and her battle with her ‘friends’, The family owing their staff salary but still living large (this was never seen to a logical conclusion), Demidun’s marriage debacle, Tokunbo’s career and interestingly angled love life, Akin’s infidelity and struggles to keep things under wrap etc.
The sad part is how loosely these story strands all tie together and yet some of them do not see themselves to a logical conclusion. I would rather it better if the movie had picked a hustle and stuck to it. I mean, if the family is the story, stick with it and if the company is, then by all means. But when we had both and all stories consistently fighting for prominence, something was bound to give and unfortunately, that is one of the reasons why the emergence of the villain didn’t even thrill. As a matter of fact, the villain was already sighted by vigilant viewers from like ten miles away before he arrived.
There were not enough glorious locations. The name of the movie demanded a whole lot more than was given. There were ample locations in the city that could have been explored to tell more of the crème de la crème of Lagos. Sort of makes me wonder why the movie consistently screamed ‘the 1 percent of the 1 percent’ in the first place. On another hand, some of Mopelola’s friendly fiends were not even it. They lacked the pizazz they were describing.
I commend the cinematography. The quality was one you would expect from a Nodash work. Debuting as a director, Bolanle Austen-Peters’ work wasn’t so suspect. A little here and there but a lot was eventually forgivable. Sound was also not bad.
All In all, ‘Bling Lagosians’ succeeded in not beating the previous ‘boujee’ offerings in its category – especially those from the stables of Ebony Life. Well, except Chief Daddy. My general take is that the movie unfortunately just paraded a bunch of half-baked characters and stories alike.