BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
With Children’s Day just around the corner, it seems like the perfect time to see the 2017 film with the same title. After all, films are sometimes tailored to suit specific times and seasons, aren’t they?
Linda Edoche takes her five-year-old son, Henry, to the park on Children’s Day, and one distracting phone call from her husband later, she no longer finds her son. There are tons of other children, but for some reason, hers has been the target, and this tragedy plunges her and her husband, Charles into sorrow, till they find that this is a pattern that continues to repeat itself every year at that same park on that same day.
Charles, upon seeing only ineptitude from the police, goes on a quest of his own, teaming up with Adewale, another victim of this same misfortune from two years ago. They employ uncommon measures in a bid to find their children.
The story is unoriginal, but the real issue is with its telling, which can only aptly be described as lazy, with the inability to infuse any form of originality into it. We are introduced to the conflict of the story by the first scene, hopeful that the rest of it would give us palpitations and worry, but what follows are a series of dreams and police station visits for the next thirty minutes, with nothing of substance to hold on to. The police is made characteristically silly on this one, asking questions that are quite irritating and do nothing to push the story forward, for the number of times they are shown. How does a police officer ask if a five-year-old has called and is playing kidnap pranks? The ridiculousness!
We find a woman responsible for the many kidnappings, but we do not get her motives or any point for why she does what she does other than the convenient mental health excuse. With a burden of feeding and catering for the children she has kidnapped for years while being unemployed, covering her tracks with such precision and living a complete lie, it is hard to believe the entire point of the kidnap or the whole story in itself.
Every scene is preceded by an unrelated aerial view of Lagos, and when the two men go to search the suspect’s house, the camera dramatically shows their legs, as though it adds some extra spice to the story. In the end, it turns out the men do not really have a plan for being in the house in the first place. The repetition of surprisingly vivid nightmares also makes this piece of work even more tiring. The fact that Charles suddenly develops psychic powers is a mystery we would probably only understand tomorrow.
Charles is played by Wole Ojo who is mechanical with the role, with a singular expression all round. Linda is played by, Nazo Ekezie. For anyone who has seen the films Breaking In or Kidnap, you would at least comprehend the depths of emotion a mother would show when her child is in danger. We get too little emotion from Linda, or even Charles and Adewale, who still seem way too complacent for worrying parents. The movie also features Jude Orhorha, Sam Uche Anyamale and Lisa Onu as Regina Kachukwu. The child actors do a fantastic job of reeling off their lines and staring at the cameras.
With a soundtrack of nursery rhyme tunes and a failed attempt at humor with a priest, Children’s Day is unintelligent and offers no new story or approach, no suspense or intrigue, no real cause to follow and nothing at all to keep you watching. It isn’t just forgettable, it is unrealistic and unable to elicit the slightest emotion from its audience.
Children’s Day is written by Greg Afamah, produced by Dumebi Abubakar and directed by Chris Eneaji.