Monday, August 12, 2013
Nollywood Movie Review - The Meeting
We've seen several movies since our last review, but somehow I've not been moved to do a review until watching Rita Dominic's The Meeting. I am a writer and for me, a good movie starts from the story. The Meeting has the best story and script/screenplay I've seen in Nollywood for a long time, and is certainly the best romantic comedy. Ever. Yes, even compared to Keeping Faith and Letters to a Stranger for older Nollywood lovers like me.
I started the movie a bit apprehensive, I'd been almost badgering Rita Dominic to put it online, and after she finally told me it was, I was wondering whether I'd have to go back and tell her it sucked. It didn't, in fact, completely the opposite. I enjoyed watching The Meeting, it's totally comparable to any Hollywood comedy I've watched recently. I'm serious.
OK, let's start with what I liked. The story, like I said, is expertly put together. Synopsis;
“The Meeting” is a romantic-drama set mainly in Abuja. Lagos-based corporate executive Makinde Esho finds himself at the mercy of political patronage, bureaucratic red-tape and his tender heart when he embarks on a one day business trip to Abuja to secure a government contract.
The movie starts with Makinde landing at the Abuja airport and having to give a lift to a youth corper who promises to be as quiet as a mouse, but ends up talking a mile a minute during the ride. He gives her his card when she asks, and they strike up a friendship. He is much older, and she assumes he's married because he's wearing a wedding band. They become love interests, which serves as the romance aspect of the movie.
It was refreshing to see new faces in the lead roles, and they were very good actors as well. Linda Ejiofor and Femi Jacobs have a chemistry that draws you in, delivering their dialogue with perfect timing and great acting, very little melodrama here, if a little cheese for us romantics. There is conflict for their developing relationship in the form of her motorcycle biker boyfriend, who starts out as a trope, but ends up more of a rounded character than one usually gets.
The other aspect of the movie combines the serious with the comical/satirical. I worked in a director's office for my youth service at the Ministry of Health in Abuja, and lived in Abuja for six years after that, with several opportunities to interact with the big and small of government bureaucracy in both personal and official capacities. Why am I saying this? To say that the movie was spot on in its portrayal of doing business with government.
Clara, Rita Dominic's character, also carries the bulk of the movie. She is the gate-keeper to one of Nigeria's federal ministers in Abuja, and she holds the key to who sees him or not. Her story is so real, so true, and most people who've dealt with bureaucracy can relate to what goes in the waiting room of the Minister, and presided over by the "bad hair" Clara. I like how the story and RD played Clara, not inherently mean, not aggressively grasping, just very opportunistic.
Beyond the political satire of Clara, is the comedy of each and every character that had a speaking role. When Makinde first arrives at the office, Chinedu Ihedieze's character is being escorted out by security personnel, we get a closer glimpse of such oustings when randy Prof Akpan (Basorge Tariah Jnr) gets the same CODE RED treatment.
The most hilarious is Mrs Kachikwu, an ingratiating gossip who does all she can to get on Clara's good side. Kate Henshaw's Mrs Ikomi will also do what needs to be done to get her way. There is more but you need to watch this movie to find out who is who and what they do. Oh yes, there's Nse Ikpe as a high class girlfriend to the minister, you really have to see her in this role, so different from most of the others I've seen her in.
The movie ends on a romantic note. And here's one of my two issues with this movie. Makinde drives up to see Ejura in a white car in a scene very reminiscent of how Pretty Woman ended. The only differences were that his car was not a limo, and he did not climb that metal scaffolding, I almost expected him to. The other part I didn't like was Makinde's daughter who was a trope of a spoilt daughter without good enough lines to back up her character. She almost makes me want him to miss her graduation.
That said, the movie ties everything so well together that I forgive them those little foibles. I give the movie a 4.5 Stars out of 5. I'll watch the movie again, and tell anyone I know to make sure they see it. It is that good. In fact, you can do so right now.
Watch The Meeting not just to support Nollywood, [though there's that cos if we want to see more good movies, we have to put our money where our mouths are and make it possible for good producers and directors to keep doing their thing] but more that you'll really enjoy this movie.
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