ELEVATOR BABY MOVIE REVIEW
By Morris Abdul Newton
Dir: Akay Mason
Starring: Timini Egbuson, Toyin Abraham, Shaffy Bello, Yemi Solade, Ijeoma Aniebo, Samuel Perry (Broda Shaggi).
Have you seen ‘Elevator’ (2012) or ‘Devil’ (2010)? Those are two ‘stuck in the elevator type’ movies with more soul than what ‘Elevator baby’ offered us. This film was just not convincing. Not by any stretch of the imagination and that in itself, is the review.
I don’t know how I felt about the fact that the reason the folks in the film were stuck in the elevator for that long was that the technician (Taju aka Broda Shaggi) just felt like not showing up to do his job.
‘Elevator Baby’ tells the story of Damilare Williams (Timini Egbuson), a privileged young man with a fiery temper and great dislike for the man his mother is dating after his father’s demise. He gets stuck in a faulty elevator with Abigail (Toyin Abraham), a semi-literate heavily pregnant lady who also has a daunting secret. The event that follows is about to change their lives forever.
This sounds like a pretty simple story but the thing about simple stories is that everything is mighty clear to the viewers. The mistakes are more obvious and sadly this one is rife with such – many unnecessary ones. Apart from the fact that characters were not well explored and brought to the fore, there is that disconnect with the characters’ arching as at when due.
Dare Williams played by Timini saw a lot of his flaws in his character development because it just wasn’t elevated to the point that we could see his change as the film progressed and ultimately, at the end. It only just came all too suddenly. I can’t help but wonder if anyone there understood what the birth process does to a man witnessing it in that kind of situation? That could have easily made him appreciate his mother more but nah, we didn’t see that. What we did see is the absence of Damilare’s mum in the last scene. It was as if Shaffy Bello (Mrs. Williams) was paid for three scenes only. Therefore she couldn’t appear in a scene that would have solidified everything they had toiled to build at the end. Also, what we did see was how, for no reason, the incident improved the relationship between Damilare and his girlfriend, Nana (Ijeoma Aniebo). Why?
Abigail’s “shocking” confession to her madam while stuck in the elevator and her madam leaving her to sort herself out was all lost in the elevator mess. That portion of the story still is irrelevant to me.
For the Elevator scenes though; Imagine Damilare being that character never known to help anyone, even when the person is dying. Imagine Damilare, who we all know has been foreshadowed to be a drinker, with a small bottle of gin in his pocket while stuck in the elevator. Imagine how that comes into play in the long run where he uses the gin as a disinfectant during the birthing process instead of drinking it to take away his stress. Imagine his reluctance and the budding picture play from what has just been described. Think a little bit more about what a little more critical thinking could have done to character building in this movie.
Picture was good. Lighting had its challenges but not that much. A most noticeable mistake in lighting though was when Abigail’s madam arrives at the office only to continue with the ‘no-light’ story when the place looked lighted. I didn’t understand the source of light in that scene as previously the reception was darker with no light.
Sound fluctuated and the actors were caught shouting in some unnecessary places. The make-up should have done better with characters. I remember Shaffy sweating a lot during the scene where she confronted her son at the beginning, but then maybe we can understand why they couldn’t touch her face at that very moment. Still, it didn’t look good.
The social media viral sensation thing that was deployed in the movie turned out a failed experiment. It added nothing to the movie but took away some. I mean, there was no reason for the news going viral if they weren’t going to use it for something more meaningful than, “Check out what they call you now.” Really?
Damilare’s mum’s partner, the Doctor (Yemi Solade) could have gotten off the ambulance and taken a bike ride long before he did but then again, the filmmakers wanted to give us a false sense of no hope before doing the obvious. If he had done that, there probably would have been no reason for Damilare birthing the baby. Filmmakers keep making these mistakes. There has to be a valid reason why certain things happen and don’t happen in films, otherwise, you lose your strongholds in story. Quite basic.
I believe if the writer had studied enough films, then he would have known that setting characters up and putting conflicts right before them so that they have to overcome and grow by them is an art that is so pure and never to be rushed. Damilare’s arc was rushed and it turned out unconvincing.
In other news, I don’t know the value of Dare’s friends (Stevo and Jude) in this movie. They weren’t maximized.
The sad thing was that there were way too many issues in this short piece and it serves more as a perfect example of having an idea but not fully thinking it through. And yes, I saw all the product placements. They were glaring and devoid of creativity as usual.