BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
After seeing Adejumoke Olatunde’s 2014 movie, Tunnel, I could almost cry. Granted, the protagonist suffers, and unjustly too, making it all the more gutting. He is thrown in prison, loses his house, loses his wife and gets painfully close to losing his only daughter to the cold claws of death. His name as a pastor is tarnished because of some terrible choices he makes during his ordeal and there appears to be nothing left to live for. However, this isn’t what makes me cry.
Tunnel is the kind of movie that, after its first four scenes, convinces you there is something to it. There is a kind of depth to a story of a man who, in a bid to find money, loses money, rams his car into the frail body of a wandering child, and gets taken into police custody for being helpful. There is even depth to the way he cries and begs God to not let the child die. Typical suffer-suffer kinda thing, but deep nonetheless, especially since the man, only a few days before, taught his congregation the importance of faith.
But it all just turns out to be a roll of rubbish disguised as shawarma. The scenes would, afterwards, run into each other like people in the dark. It would seem like the fellow who wrote the story dozed off minutes into it, and hit their head against a desk, losing their train of thought in the process; but since the show must go on, concocted silliness and wrapped it in brighter grammar. At some point in the movie, they think it nice to introduce God into the mix, in the form of a huge homeless man named Olu, and just when we begin to configure our minds to understand Olu and his weirdness, the writer decides against it and gets rid of him on a whim. Then we find ourselves in an office talking about mattresses, and then we don’t. But for the well-done accident scene that is scary but pointless, the movie is all just an incomprehensible mess.
That actors such as Femi Jacobs (as Pastor Lade Olagbesan), Patrick Doyle (as Olu) and Nse Ikpe-Etim are in the ensemble of this Stanlee Ohikhuare-directed movie makes it even more depressing. Waje Iruobe acts as Sade Olagbesan, wife of Lade, and puts up a surprisingly good act; surprising because this is her first-ever movie appearance as an actor. Lepacious Bose is also cast and while she makes for comic relief, the very poor story makes her character confusing. Femi Jacobs portrays his suffering-man character well too, and the music in the movie is delicious, obviously the work of songstress Waje.
Tunnel is full of large plot holes, clichéd patterns, lessons they enthusiastically want to force down our throats, and many additions that are like Chinese to an Igbo man. The story is so bad that I was near tears as the credits rolled, mourning the loss of productive time I could have spent watching Teletubbies. At least that would have made me laugh in peace.
There are movies that start out and are so full of crap from the beginning, you know you shouldn’t give them too much thought. These ones are forgivable; they haven’t pretended to be what they’re not. There are others, however, like Tunnel, posing to be deep and then stabbing your nostrils with the stench of their shallowness. There is no room for forgiveness here. None.