BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Seeing the trailer, I had imagined it to be one of those ‘new generation’ Nollywood movies with insanely creative plots and angles that leave you dumbfounded. Then I saw the movie, and I was truly dumbfounded. When our mother’s taught us that everything is not what it seems, they didn’t teach wrong.
Apart from the fact that scene after scene continues to seem like the movie has no script, the subtitling for Taxi Driver (TD) is a huge turn-off. Subtitling in Pidgin, when the original language of the movie oscillates between Pidgin and Yoruba is totally unnecessary. No, to not say it lightly, subtitling in pidgin makes it an arduous task to follow the movie for the non-Yoruba-speaking audience. It ultimately just limits the reach of the movie to a significantly small audience.
The movie starts out slowly about a man who leaves his hometown for Lagos to find greener pastures. He is handed his father’s taxi by a friend of his father’s to continue in his footsteps as a taxi driver. His father’s friend, turned his friend, helps him find his footing in the big city, ramming into him series of instructions about how to make money and how to relate with prostitutes, who, according to him were the most generous customers. Somewhere in the mix arises the issue of his father’s death, and how his dreams are often interrupted by his late father’s appearances. The movie ends with an unraveling of his father’s murderers, and a resolution I still am yet to grasp, hours after seeing the movie.
The scenes go on and on and will not stop, in an attempt to get the audience laughing. Odunlade Adekola, who plays the role of Taiwo, is constantly going in and out of a stammering fit, one that is mostly far from believable. Femi Jacobs plays the role of Adigun, the protagonist. Adigun starts out as a typical bushman, speaking strictly Yoruba with his friend. The transitioning to English cum Pidgin renders his character a confused man. Then there’s Delia (Ijeoma Agu), who is a prostitute. Ijeoma’s interpretation of the role is one of the few highpoints of the movie.
TD leaves a lot of questions unanswered. It opens up plots it is not able to see through and creates characters that are quickly taken away from the scene before we even get a chance to meet them. The writer tries to tell something ‘deep’, then decides against it somewhere in the middle and attempts to get us laughing. He catches himself in the process, and quickly returns to his attempt to pull at our heartstrings with a revelation of Delia’s past, and just when he is about to have us sold, we begin to see unexplainable appearances and disappearances, people miraculously rising from the dead, gunshots that leave no scars but leave wools over eyes, and a connection that won’t just connect. At some point in the movie, you ask yourself if the movie writer has hit a depth you are too shallow to understand, or if the plot actually does make no sense. It doesn’t take too long to settle on the latter.
Yes, TD has its moments that get you laughing, and stars who are known for their humor such as Hafiz Ayetoro and Odunlade. It has moments that get you wanting to know what comes next, and pictures that make you curious about wanting to pay Lagos a visit, or walk the streets of Lagos at night in curiosity; but it falls flat in its ability to tell its story, leaving you with a sour taste of dissatisfaction on your tongue.