We have waited eagerly for the premiere of this film. The buzz gathered over the last six months after showing at the Toronto International Film Festival was punctuated by a court injunction, preventing the initial release in Nigeria. There were the lights, cameras, but no action on Friday the 24th of March 2017. Almost a week later, we got news that the film was showing. I rushed to buy my ticket; this was going to be a movie to remember.
Or so I hoped.
Cue opening music, customary shot of Lekki-Ikoyi link bridge, close up shot of feet covered with trainers running rhythmically on the side walk. The camera reveals a hulking frame jogging on the bridge. The ‘Terminator’ (Blossom Chukwujekwu) finishes with a phone call and then proceeds to swoop in on his target, an unsuspecting lady on the bridge. He sputters, “baby baby”; I’m not sure on what planet that pick-up line works, certainly not this one. The interaction seems like a throw away part in the script, an after thought to establish his character as a Casanova of sorts.
First, let us establish what Okafor’s Law is, if you don’t already know. The statement applies to guys mostly. If you have been involved in a relationship with a girl for over a period of time and you did a great job, in and out of the bedroom (mostly in), the belief is that you can always go to the girl at any given time and sleep with her no matter what situation arises (break ups, different lovers, etc).
The plot is whimsical, which is not bad in itself, but the film sometimes tries to take itself seriously – it’s like listening to Wizkid’s ‘Daddy Yo’ hoping to hear something profound.
Okafor’s Law views like a well written pop song that is badly produced. The plot is whimsical, which is not bad in itself, but the film sometimes tries to take itself seriously – it’s like listening to Wizkid’s ‘Daddy Yo’ hoping to hear something profound. It has a lot of good moments, like when Gabriel Afolayan’s character ‘Baptist’ pleads with his wife not to reveal to her cousin that Terminator had proven Okafor’s Law with his fiancé. Apart from the limited screen time that they had, we are tortured with unrealistic and painfully awkward sex scenes, occasional tired romantic cliches and cardboard cut out acting.
The movie follows Terminator and his three friends, Fox (Ken Erics) and Baptist, who make a bet staking percentages of their farming company as the prize. The bet is that Terminator proves Okafor’s Law with three women. The film follows him as he proceeds to put his prowess to the test once again. He encounters Ejiro (Omoni Oboli), a successful business woman who has turned to Christ after suffering a series of heart breaks. He woos her under the guise of being a devoted church member. He woos Ify (Ufuoma McDermott), an ex, who is now married to a billionaire with the promise of a more exciting life. He woos Tomi (Toyin Aimakhu) under the guise of needing branding and PR for his farm.
After bedding two out of the three targets, the consequences of his ill thought out escapades come back to haunt him. Ejiro becomes obssessed, he gets brutally beaten by Ify’s husband and incurs Tomi’s wrath. Ejiro informs Tomi about Okafor’s Law which creates an acrimonious scene between her and Terminator. Richard Mofe Damijo’s role as Mr.Omene stands out because it starts out menacing. I was impressed with his sinister tone. Unfortunately, this quickly descended into a farcical beating. He is nursed back to health by Ejiro. He comes around, realises the evil of his ways and professes love for Ejiro in a park.
Ejiro almost falls and then she leaves and then – movie ends.
This would have been perfect because it would have shown that there are consequences for playing with people’s emotions and that women can choose to walk away from relationships that are harmful to them. But unfortunately, we are treated with a mid credit scene where Ejiro and the Terminator are getting ready for their wedding. This ‘happy ending’ felt contrived and regressive to the story. Sometimes being a douche does not get you the girl.
The ADR (automated dialogue replacement) took me out of the movie from time to time. I think sound is a persistent problem generally in Nollywood. And in this film, the spectre of sound returned like a plague. Though not outstanding, the cinematography was good because it told the story effectively. The soundtrack was like a passive spectator in its own movie. There was a beautiful scene with Terminator and Tomi seeing a shooting star.
Technically the film was not bad, it was acceptable, although tonally, it was confusing. One would think that the film maker was confused as to what type of story she wanted to tell. There were parts where the film was painfully slow and uninteresting; perhaps if the characters were better developed, we could have had a little bit more depth to the story.
Overall it was an interesting watch. I give it 3stars.
Okafor’s Law: Written, Produced and Directed by Omoni Oboli | 110 minutes | 2016
Chuka Oha, for inquizimedia.com