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Cinema Review: Femi Odugbemi’s “Gidi Blues” Offers A Competent Showing All Round

BY DEOYE FALADE

A boy meets a girl in a market who turns his world inside out, leading him to evaluate his life and discover who he really is.

That simple huh?

Indeed, and this is where Femi Odugbemi‘s film gets me. Gidi Blues finally did for me what most films this year have failed to do – tell a simple, believable story in an entertaining manner without overcomplicating things. It doesn’t have to be great or mindblowing. Just tell a story and tell it well because some of us don’t ask for much. I didn’t have to wonder about who’s story it really is, what the main character has to contend with and all that basic stuff.

Gidi Blues, is a Lagos love story – as the nickname Gidi refers. We get to meet with Lasgidi’s bustle, splendor and squalor in equal measure at the beginning of the film before homing in on the main characters in the bustling Idumota market. Gideon ‘Robin Hood 007’ Okeke plays Akinola, an entitled playboy with no real sense of direction in life since he has bailouts from his textile merchant mother (Bukky Wright, who desperately wants him to man up and settle down) to rely on. His world changes when he, in the company of his handsome lackey friend Jaiye, rescues Nkem (Hauwa Allahbura) from petty thieves in the market. Nkem’s friend, Simbi (Lepacious Bose) then develops a crush on Jaiye, which leads to a collision of lives, interests, motivations and intentions.

It’s a good story with competent acting, Gideon appears to be in his zone, some elements from his character in Tinsel are evident. He’s an irresponsible playboy but isn’t necesaarily a twat – a clear departure from the spoiled bad playboys typified by Jim Iyke flicks. Bukky Wright puts in a good performance as well and Hauwa’s chemistry with Gideon was alright though I feel Nancy Isime, who played Carmen (what’s it with these names sef) flowed way better with Gideon. That said, I don’t know how Nancy would have been in the other scenes but I’ll go out on a limb to say they could have been interchanged. Perhaps I’m finicky but it feels like a little miscasting there. Forgivable.

Hauwa shone most when she and Bose were together though. It was simply organic, the dialogue didn’t feel forced like the actors were reading from a teleprompter operated by a sloth.

The script and screenplay were tight too, almost every scene was necessary, with one leading into the other and leaving no room for confusion. Lepacious Bose did well and unlike most of her comedian peers, concentrated more on her lines and acting rather than using her screen time to show the audience how funny she is and reminding them of what she’s known for. A mention too for the kid that played Sodiq.

So far, I haven’t said a single thing about photography, sound or production. And that’s a good thing because if the aesthetics of a film is the first thing out of a review, then it most likely sucks. This is not to say that it is not well produced. The pictures were crisp, sound was solid and the overall production was really good. With multiple locations demanding different approaches, the filmmaker did quite well. From Makoko to Idumota to Victoria Island and Lekki, nothing was really out of place. The Makoko scenes with the floating school leaves you emotional if you know that the school basically sank a few weeks ago.

Storytelling? Check. Competent acting and production? Check.

So here’s what I didn’t like. My first would be nitpicking but this seeming obsession with drone shots is beginning to irk me. They were beautiful but with such variety, I don’t know why i needed to be reminded of how much I hated Fifty with yet another Lekki-Ikoyi bridge shot. How come a boy living in Makoko develops heart issues and ends up in a private ward in a well-equipped hospital and there was no explanation whatsoever?

I also have a problem with certain narratives. The Bishop’s daughter, Carmen was stereotyped – lowkey public belief that clergy children are horny, uncontrollable sex maniacs. And in 2016, it should be accepted that adults have sex, some more than others and regardless of gender or background, can go all the way without being shamed for it like Akin did – saying the girl was a tramp simply because she seemed insatiable or because she jumped into bed with him on the first night. However, there was some redemption when the girl got pregnant and later refused to falsely announce Akin as the father. Just a little bit of redemption there because of a parent’s attempt to lie in the name of protecting reputations.

Also, Jaiye’s attempt at remedying the shitstorm he created for his friend, Akin was laughable and annoying. Throughout the film he’s been established as a greedy, lazy, superficial, gambling playboy who ended up damaging his friend’s relationship simply because Akin gave money he could have used to pay off his gambling debts to help Sodiq get heart surgery. Then in his conversation/confession with Simbi, he basically says that he lied to Nkem about Akin’s non-existent fiance because he wanted to protect his friend. No! He was hurt and wanted to protect his selfish interests because having Nkem out of the picture would mean him getting money as usual. What’s done is done but I have feel that was lazy.

And there’s this scene in Akin’s room where he’s staring at the mirror there appears to be a bunch of lady shoes in the shoe rack. I thought he was a playboy bachelor or was he in another house? Plus the shot of his feet in the final scene when he was running to catch up with Nkem pretty much looked like the pace of some lil bitch (couldn’t resist mentioning this).

In all, Gidi Blues could have been better but it isn’t bad at all as it is – competent is how I would describe it. There’s a lot of good humour that would shame some comedy flicks and the lovely thing is that it’s all natural. My highlight is the part where the market thug who takes his consulting job with Akin so seriously that he shows up in a suit to look the part. Then he sees one of his minions and sends him off to threaten a defaulter in the crudest tone possible.

I’m done talking, go watch.

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