When Kunle Afolayan calls you to the cinema, best believe you better answer.
Especially when he brings Tunde Babalola, the guy who penned the
torturous Last Flight To Abuja script for his well-received October 1 movie.
Shot across different African countries but set mainly on Inagbe Grand Resort on the outskirts of Lagos, “The CEO” is a psychological-thriller surrounding five top executives from across Africa who are dispatched on a 1-week leadership retreat by their employer, Transwire, a multinational telecommunication firm.
The goal is to determine which one of them would become the firm’s new CEO. Things quickly go south when one –by-one, the executives start to die under mysterious circumstances.
The finger falls on the last two remaining executive as prime suspects as a possible homicide charge looms.
This movie deserves some credit for the characters.
Five diverse characters? Five different African countries? Not common sight in these zones. This is like the P-square of film. Best part is how even with their diversity, they feel so familiar;
From the cocky Riikard played by Nico Panagio, who thinks he became CEO the day he came out of the womb.
To the insecure Kenyan Jomo played by Peter King, who behaves more like a Nigerian politician E.F.C.C. has been visiting more than an actual CFO.
There’s Yasmin played by Fatym Layachi, the Moroccan expatriate.
Eloise is the woman from Cote D’Ivoire try to balance career with family.
The amazing Grammy award-winning Angelique Kidjo plays Dr Zimmerman, the retreat’s facilitator, who won’t stop making them dance.
There’s Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju, who is supposed to be an HR person, but really just feels like an undergraduate doing her six-month Industrial attachment.
Hilda Dokubo was the Police D.P.O. The miracle is not how her police station managed to have light all the time, or how it was actually set like a warehouse, cell and office. The miracle was that she didn’t cry throughout the film. Praise the Lord.
And of course, there’s Kola played by Wale Ojo, the kind of boss who would tell you off pant to give you a promotion or let you graduate.
The characters quite well-developed, but Aurelie and Kemi’s interpretation of their characters has small bow-leg sha.
Aha, someone finally gets the product placement thing.
Product placement is when a manufacturer or company pays you to litter your film or music video with their product or service. Its like selling without trying to let people know you’re selling. Desmond Elliot painted his ‘In The Cupboard’ movie lemon green because he has a Glo endorsement.
Oga showed us Glo car, Glo billboards, Glo umbrella, Equitorial Trust Bank, Wale Adenuga Towers. All of these, under 2 minutes into the film.
Kunle Afolayan on the other hand, has an Air France endorsement, and he fused Air France smoothly into the plot without looking like Chief Zebrudaya.
The movie manages to keep us waiting for the next scene, the next thrill, and most importantly, the next death, for the 1 hour 50 minutes length of it. Production was on point, as we’ve come to expect. It’s Standard Kunle-Afolayan Procedure, or SKAP as we like to call it (you’re welcome, Kunle).
But what about the story sef?
While the movie looks like something that will win a bunch of awards (Wale Ojo for Best Actor, Movie of the Year etc), there are some major plot holes that even now, don’t sit well. Like how people were dying under mysterious circumstances and waking up in strange places. Yet, there wasn’t one single security detail or lifeguard in the VIP resort.
Like, not beside the ocean, or beside the pool, nowhere. Dear Inagbe Grand Resort,
And then there was the ending that felt a little like,
It won’t leave you with a lingering, question. It’ll leave you with a lingering confusion.
If you have a forgiving spirit, you won’t mind. But if the current state of the economy is affecting your temperament, you might vex small.
Did we say this was a spoiler-free review? Sorry if we gave too much away.
On a scale of zero to Jollof Rice, how good was this movie?
Remember that Jollof Rice you ate that was quite good, but you felt like there were a few things missing that would have made it as good as your mum’s own? Yep. This the movie.
When next you’re at the cinemas though, we think you should book a date with The CEO.