BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
It is hard to tell that one thing that makes Date Night what it eventually becomes when you leave the cinemas. It is hard to point a finger at what makes you so exhausted. Perhaps it is its unending, nearly overwhelming dialogue, or just the fact that you feel like it doesn’t hold a cause strong enough. You feel like it has tried very hard to make you worry, and when you began to worry, it showed you it wasn’t worthy of it. Whatever it is, you know what you feel when you leave. Dissatisfied. Disappointed. Maybe just a little upset.
A man takes a woman out on a date a day after she walked up to him in a place so random, and told him she found him cute. He treats her to the niceties of a fanciful dinner, but she is in a hurry to follow him home, after showing she isn’t exactly about that luxurious life and that she possesses an uncanny knowledge of Greek mythology.
He takes her home, and over drinks, realizes she is there on a mission to find her sister, or get revenge on her sister’s behalf if she were already dead. They go back and forth, she overpowering him, him overpowering her, and them engaging in dialogue, perhaps a little too much dialogue for two enemies who would rather tear each other to shreds.
The Date Night story is different, but not very fascinating. It tries hard to be and introduces a lot of intelligent conversation in its writing, done by Kehinde Joseph. But the story itself falls flat and feels like something we would not have loved to hear. Its allure would have to be the fact that it has two main characters –four in all- and is set in a house, start to finish. It takes forever to kick off after its first two scenes, presents us with no one, in particular, to worry about and serves us performances that are hard to believe or identify with.
Lota, the captor, refers to herself mostly as Nemesis, the Greek goddess of justice. We understand her mission; it is one of revenge and love for family. What we do not get, or get too late and are unconvinced by, is Femi’s reason for the many kidnaps that lead Lota to his home. Does he feed his victims? Why does he keep them alive when he can always get more? What exactly is his story, his issue? That he is twisted is not enough, we have many whys for what he does in this film.
Date Night is knotty. The characters are unrealistically hysterical, trying to create an action film from a real terrifying situation. It is clear they are acting a film, and because the dialogue is flowery, we get tired and bored quickly and nearly relocate to the land of Nod.
A film directed by Daniel Oriahi and produced by Chidiogo Enwegbara of Cine Squirrel Productions, Date Night seems to try too hard to sell itself. Lota is ill-fitting on Adesua Etomi, and Deyemi Okanlawon’s Femi does not convince. The film ultimately leaves us feeling empty and exhausted, and wishing we hadn’t been so curious.