BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
In Line is not in a hurry as it tells its story of Debo Devy and his wife Kate. Debo has served a six-year sentence for the murder of his father. He gets a presidential pardon (chiefly because his mother is connected to people in high places and can afford to sleep with one or two) and returns to his life, but things are no longer the same. Or maybe they are, but he just fails to see it. Kate has held the fort on their joint business, has remained unmarried and faithful but has withdrawn into a shell that only pain and distance can carve. Still, she manages to remain, excusing Debo’s anger and complaints and bouts of violence, covering up for him. Debo, on the other hand, is paranoid, believing his wife could not have stayed faithful all this time and must definitely have a lover. So he hires a private investigator, Bella, who happens to be his ex who still battles with masking her feelings for him. To make her job easier, he brings her home as a help. What she finds from her investigations would send tempers flaring and loyalties crumbling.
The ensemble is a stellar mix of Nigerian and Ghanaian actors. Uzor Arukwe is a personal favorite, but never as a leading man. Taking on a major role as Debo in In Line is a big challenge, and he staggers a little with it at the beginning, but finds his balance and soars through the rest of it, creating believable chemistry with his costar. Chris Attoh is more familiar with leads and handles his role as Debo’s friend and lawyer, David, well. Adesua Etomi owns her role as Kate and does a fantastic job of it, and Sika Ossei is Bella, the hung up ex. Tina Mba is in her element as Debo’s mother, Shawn Faqua plays Kates only brother who has a big mouth and wits about him, and Leonora Okine plays Kate’s friend and secretary who wants a man, a character that is typical but necessary.
The In Line story is simple with varying elements of twists and turns to spice it up. But what it consistently upholds is its pace, as it takes its time to paint its characters in different brush strokes. It does this while still being fun and leaving you to hold your breath in anticipation. One too many times, the impact of six years is downplayed on the turn of events. Six years is a long time for a lot of things to have changed, but when Debo returns, things seem pretty much the same. He stays at home for a couple of days and then returns to work like nothing ever happened, connecting with clients and closing up huge deals. At one point, he says he lands a contract by blackmail and while this bit attempts to explain two things: Debo being a bad boy and the reason for his ability to clinch big deals, it still sounds too easy. The sound is shaky in places, and the intense show of affection between Kate and Dekunle is a tad too much for a harmless friendship.
The cinematography is a delight. Director Tope Oshin shows off camera angles that properly convey the story, especially when Bella spies on Kate. It is also worthy of note that the director ensures the slowness of the movie doesn’t translate into pathos and bore out its audience. In Line ends with a bang. The final scene moves your hands to applaud at how you didn’t see it coming and how the last ‘man’ standing walks away like a boss.
Written by Diche Enunwa and Temitope Bolade-Akinbode, and produced by Chinyere Ozoemena, In Line is a pure delight in slow motion. Its message of abuse, infidelity, and loyalty are subtle yet loud. It clearly isn’t a perfect movie, but it does its bit and comes out nice.