Movie Review: Lagos Nights Taxi Somethings…
Eko gbole o gbole.
That’s Yoruba for “Lagos accepts the thief and the lazy”. Literally.
And that is the theme for what is arguably the funniest Nigerian movie to hit the cinemas in 2015; Taxi Driver (Oko Ashewo).
Adigun comes to Lagos for the first time –
I must mention the high-speed car chase opening first.
That’s right. The first few seconds into the film, a high-speed car chase is in progress. I couldn’t believe it myself until I recognized the streets in which the car chase was happening.
That’s right. The high-speed car chase was filmed on Broad Street and Hospital Road.
I was blown away.
Now, as I was saying…
Adigun (Femi Jacobs) comes to Lagos for the first time at the behest of one of his late father’s business partners. Apparently, the man left him a taxi, a room and six-months rent debt. His father’s business partner, Baba Tee (played with plenty gravitas by Odunlade Adekola) offers to guide him through the hustle and bustle of making a living in Lagos because of a promise he made to Adigun’s father.
Sooner than later, Adigun is introduced to one of the characters that would liven up his Lagos experience; Delia (Ijeoma Grace Agu) a prostitute with the demeanor of a bush cat. She singlehandedly shows him how wild and crazy Lagos can be – but she has a human side as we see later.
As wild and crazy as Lagos can be; it also has many dark and dangerous corners populated by all sorts of characters. At some point Adigun is told to wait at some junction to pick some people. But two armed robbers jump in, waving guns and mouthing off. At first he assumes they are the ones he’s sent to pick. As he drives on however, things become clearer and they let themselves out.
Adigun keeps having dreams of his father – creating the impression early enough in the movie that there’s more to the man’s death than he was told. Sure enough; trouble comes from most unexpected quarters; and help comes from the same place. Officer Titus of Ndani TV fame makes an appearance in an unrelated role and he shines. Saka’s role is forgettable at best, as his attempts at humor fall flat in places.
The movie is hilarious; several one-liners and banters make for an entertaining watch. The camera work is spectacular; a lot better than we’re used to seeing from our local directors. Aerial shots of the Lekki Bridge and Marina help reinforce why Lagos is the centre of everything; and really from that view the city is breathtakingly beautiful.
As long there’s electricity to help one appreciate it.
The plot is a murky meal; unclear in several areas. Some scenes are unnecessarily long; pointless dialogue in a couple places slow the movie down. The attempt to create the cliche ‘prostitute with a heart of gold’, an abrupt switch from gutter-mouth prostitute to serially abused orphan by Delia failed to give the movie the emotional core it needed; but the end scenes more than make up for that.
Still; the car chase single-handedly raises the bar for Nigerian movies as the camera work there is stellar. It’s a Yoruba-speaking movie for the most part; so for my non-Yoruba people you’ll have to follow the subtitles closely. It’s quite well done, none of the usual head-banging translating we’re used to from such – except that a couple of lines are accidentally left out.
Still, Taxi Driver is quite the ride, worth every moment. It’s the kind of movie the guys should see with someone special who isn’t quite ‘special’ yet; light enough to make her laugh; warm enough to make her want to cuddle.
Like I know anything about such things.
Taxi Driver is showing at Ozone Cinema Yaba at the following times:
Fri-Thur: 1:05pm, 1:30pm, 7:45pm