“Coming from Insanity” is Proof That Truth is Stranger Than Fiction – Olubunmi Adesuwa Ajiboye
“Coming from Insanity” is a crime drama that stars a not-so-clean shaven (and peskily so too) Gabriel Afolayan as Kossi, a houseboy turned counterfeit currency designer and printer. We begin at Seme Border sometime in 1995 where a truckload of children are being illegally carted into Nigeria where they will be sold or should I say hired out as domestic workers for families. Mostly.
Kossi is hired by a family, along with another help, Emmanuel (Adeolu Adefarasin), and for 15 years Kossi works for this seemingly affluent family whose daughter Oyin (Damilola Adegbite) is the only one who treats him decently, unlike her arrogant brother Femi (Wole Ojo) who treats him like the very scum of the earth.
While Emmanuel is content with his life as a houseboy, Kossi is not and decides to do something about his situation, albeit something criminal, printing counterfeit dollar notes. It’s all a dizzy spin with Kossi’s narration from thinking it to doing it, all with a pinch of bravado, determination and luck here and there. Of course, he cannot get away with this for long and soon a detective (Udoka Oyeka) is hot on the trail of this unknown figure putting fake dollar notes in circulation.
Does Kossi get caught and pay for his crime? You’ll find out when you see the movie currently available on Netflix though it was apparently released in Nigeria in April 2019. But the ending is of the least bit of interest to me, and this is why: the factuality or actuality of “Coming from Insanity” may be its biggest setback. How does a houseboy who is living fairly comfortably from what we are shown, decide to take up the crime of printing fake dollar bills? I saw what could have been character motivation screaming from the rooftops begging to be acknowledged. For instance: I think this dude Kossi doesn’t have the balls for petty crime or is too proud to soil his hands that way so why not go for something less grimy?
I suspect his motivation was more psychological than just the need to have more money to spend or not having to answer to an idiot like Femi because we see Kossi now a rich man but other than the luck and bravado (contrived or not) which has brought him here, nothing else has changed about him. He still can’t even dress or look the part for all the dollars he has (I guess you can’t buy class and style), this tells me there is something going on with this character on the inside which hasn’t been deeply explored. At the beginning of the film we are told it is based on a true story, Well, is there no depth in truth? Or is depth only the preserve of fiction?
The best things about the movie, make it a breath of fresh air in certain ways. It is understated, in acting, dialogue and more and even remarkably devoid of melodrama, the Nollywood kind. Its understatedness is possibly its greatest charm. Its cinematography is easy on the eye and the audio did not fail to launch as has almost become the norm with our movies, as though getting great sound for a film made in Nigeria is an impossibility.
Stray Observations: The mishmash of accents, especially Kossi’s was a bit of a head-scratcher. As an 80s baby, the Tetris, video games and rubber band attack left me feeling very nostalgic about growing up in the 90s. Mobile phones in 95? No sir. The obviously Igbo men playing Hausa money changers and speaking Hausa in Igbo accent? Tut-tut. There’s also the fact that the subtitles kept referring to the language being spoken as Igbo when the characters were speaking Hausa. I don’t know if it’s a Netflix issue but I have noticed that error with a number of our movies on the streaming platform.