The Bling Lagosians – Long Movie, Many Questions – Henri Yire
There seems to be a secret manual amongst the emerging crop of new Nollywood movie producers and directors; something along the following lines: stick only with stories about rich Lagosians and you are bound to pack cinemas effortlessly. Think Fifty, think King of Boys, Think Wedding Party 1 & 2 and you’ll begin to appreciate what I mean.
The excessive show of wealth in the first few scenes of THE BLING LAGOSIANS was necessary to stamp the Holloways (In the words of Mrs. Mopeola Holloway) “as the 1% of the 1%” and the introductory style narrative format that eased us into the movie wasn’t bad, especially as it was also used to close out the movie. Smart move. The story line was nowhere near the upper percentile of originality but that can be said for a good portion of the best movies today. Story lines aren’t everything. How the story plays out matters more. So, a randy Akin Holloway, cut from a long line of influential custodians of the Holloway dynasty is threatened with bank foreclosure when his ‘Godfather’ and protector, suddenly dies after an unfortunate ‘sporting’ event.
With a lifestyle dipped in gold-crusted affluence, Akin Holloway’s wife Mopeola, is unwilling to settle for a low-key party for her 51 st birthday even after her husband’s warning to keep a low profile until investigations by the bank settles. She is, afterall, a Holloway.
The Bolanle Austen-Peters produced movie, then veers into the lives of the Holloway daughters; Demidun and Tokunbo and how they try to navigate love and career. Tokunbo finds love unexpectedly in the arms of an Ibo movie producer, in her quest to sanitize the Nollywood industry as a script writer while Demidun, a fast-rising marriage counselor, tries to save her marriage from a stint of infidelity. As is common with movies sourced from Nigeria, comedy is a given; with the intervention of Instagram comedian, Broda Shaggi and Africa Magic ‘Jara’ presenter, Helen Paul. Their comic scenes though adding nothing to the story, firmly positions the flick with the hundreds of comedy-tainted movies that is part of the Nollywood export. For a plot twist, we got a bland confession by Akin Holloway’s long time business partner and friend, who owns up to being the mastermind behind the woes plaguing the company. His angst; Akin Holloway had been sleeping with his wife. My overall take on this movie wavers a little. I’ll tell you why.
Mopeola Holloway played by the amazing Elvina Ibru was flawlessly brilliant, embracing the role of a rich socialite realistically. From her aristocratic iterations and mild-mannered sarcasm, to her well-intoned insults, she in my opinion took the day. Not much can be said for her ‘movie husband’ though; let’s just say that he wasn’t altogether convincing. One of my favourite characterizations in the movie was that of the Governor’s mother. If you know anything about ‘old money’ power dynamics in Yoruba land and the sheer power that the ‘iyaloja’ wields, you would understand this scene perfectly. Nicely done. Denola Gray’s representation of an upper-class event planner was brilliantly delivered, accompanied by a hint of the required aloofness to help the character along. While the only thing moving about Akin Holloway walking away from the company he built and into the arms of reporters was the stirring soundtrack by music superstar, Brymo. See my point? After the 1 hour and 37 minutes it took to watch the movie, I honestly have more questions than answers. And if that’s what a good movie does, then the movie was probably good.