By Morris Abdul Newton


Dir: Niyi Akinmolayan

Starring: Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Kehinde Bankole, Tina Mba, Jim Iyke, Joke Silva, Dakore Egbesun-Akande, Ayoola Ayolola, Marie Humbert, Uzor Arukwe. 100mins


I’ll start this one from the middle. The acting was good… not more than that. The actors showed up and did what needed to be done. Not much was superfluous and a few moments were underwhelming, especially for Tina Mba, Kehinde Bankole and Jim Iyke. But then, the acting it was generally good.

If you see this movie, you will most likely leave the cinema satisfied. Why? It looks good, better than almost all the Nollywood movies that have graced the big screens this year. As a matter of fact, I think only the Gold Statue comes close. Problem though is in when you really begin to think.

Without spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it – The Set Up follows the story of a young woman, Chike, who gets more than she bargains for and is drawn into a web of deceit when a socialite hires her to aid his scheme of marrying a wealthy heiress.


We can also tell the story from a more comprehensive front and still excite a watch out of the audience. Chike (Adesua) and Grace (Kehinde) have bonded since they were kids and this bond, as well as their past, has led them to a life of crime. When they find themselves goaded to a disadvantageous spot, their only way of escape from the law is through Madame Enitan (Tina Mba). However, Madame’s scheme to take down the Elesho family, for the wrong they did her, using the girls is soon coming and will set off a series of unprecedented events and counter schemes.

The set up above (bereft of spoilers) should give us an idea of what this movie is about and any normal person will begin to see opportunities. This is what I believe the writer saw. It is no mean feat piecing this together, so I must commend Naz Onuzo for a job well done with the writing…almost. I also understand that the finished work of the film is not just the work of the writer but the entire production team. Therefore, everyone is lined up to take the accolade as well as the beating as well.

Niyi Akinmolayan and his DOP delivered great pictures on this. But there’s more to a movie than good pictures or alright sound as I say every time. There are lots of elements. One of the major issues for me was the fact that for a movie such as this, there were almost no action pieces in the entire movie, just elaborate schemes. The only action pieces we managed to glean were cut into the credit sequence. I don’t understand. What did the girls train for if they weren’t going to use any of those training in the movie itself? It was like watching Tom Cruise scale tall buildings and endure car chases only in the credit sequence of Mission Impossible while the rest of the movie is just drab dialogue, conspiracies and revelations. Talk about the height of redundancy. I mean, these girls didn’t even run. What?!

niyi akinmolayan

To an extent, I think Madame Enitan was way too naïve and ridiculous towards the end but then I’m reminded that it’s just a movie like those where the villain takes forever to shoot the hero who’s at his mercy only for something to happen to turn the tide. I don’t know why the ‘scheme for scheme mindset’ thing between the girls and Madame Enitan wasn’t explored initially. If the movie was laced with it all through, then the win at the end would have been more gratifying for the “intelligent” audiences. There’s no need postulating what blind rage and greed can do to a person because, frankly, it’s not the point.

I don’t know if there were more but there was a repeated shot of the exterior of the Cubana outlet used. It showed the same characters going into the club in the same outfit and no, it isn’t one of those sequences. We are not short of footages now, are we?

Also, attempts at getting younger versions of characters just didn’t work. The biggest failure was Enitan’s. Either via makeup or younger actors, a lot of it didn’t make for enjoyable viewing.

The dynamics between Grace and the Pastor was soulless. It was as if it was being forced to work. I don’t know if it was the acting or the way the story panned out between them. I just know it could have been way better. Meanwhile, what was that thing about the Pastor been that way? Was that love or lust?

Editing was premium and so was the movie score. The score was original and great.  The plot breakdown was also so to the minutest. Not everyone fancies that. Our audiences are intelligent.

‘The Set Up’ is a fabulous movie on the surface with a solid storyline but then it is still an elaborate set up to cause you not to think much. The moment you begin to, the moment the issues in it begin to show their ugly heads. Still, it is a solid, solid take. Kudos to the team.


Read Also: The Merry Men: A Perfect Blend of Comedy, Intrigue and Action

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