N. F. Kenure
I actually liked Bling. I expected a gaudy mess but it wasn't. What was right ? A lot of things. Somehow filthy chaotic Lagos managed to look like it could give Monaco a run for its money as another playground for the wealthy. Deco, art costumes, cast and location were all exquisite and handpicked to project a clean aesthetic. Every shot made to count. I also liked that the Holloways who are old money live in a beautiful and modern old-Ikoyi compound. There's nouveau- riche Banana Island and then there’s old Ikoyi.
The sound, music and score was impressive. Songs by Brymo Niniola crooned in the background at the right time and were belted out at more appropriate intervals.
Elvina Ibru as Mopelola Holloway was a refreshing face on the screen. She was glorious in her shining moments and pitiful when it called for it. The wife of the last scion of the Holloway Dynasty, she is the quintessential Lagos woman; big on shine and glamour.
Her first daughter Demidun (Osas Ighodaro ) grapples with private marital woes - a mysteriously detached husband. Her younger sibling is Tokunbo Holloway (Sharon Ooja). Her style was hands down a favorite of mine. Tokunbo tries to break into Nollywood to create a movie she can truly be proud of, but soon learns that compromising her standards may be the only way to get ahead.
Now, was this subplot for those of us who ask a little more from Nollywood? I do not understand why it was intelligently discussed and denounced, yet cringeworthy character comedians were still inserted into the story. Is the message that Nollywood movie makers all have to bow down to the powers that be? Is that it? Whatever did this movie need Helen Paul and Brother shaggy and their brand of character comedy? Made me scratch my head.
The story was light on business lingo and technicalities. St. Ives is about to file for bankruptcy, how exactly is it saved by the governor who manages to buy them a two-year lifeline?
Some of the casting was off: The Governor’s mother is too young to be a “mama” to Mr Holloway (her acting was great though). Mopelola’s society friends were not age appropriate. Kiki Princewill (Bisola Aiyeola),Oge briggs (Winihin Jemide) and Dunni Fernandez (Toyin Abraham) did not strike me as age appropriate friends for Mrs Holloway in age-ist Nigeria. Perhaps the point is it’s slim pickings amongst the “one percent of the one percent”. According to our movies “big” Yoruba families with pedigree always seem to be saddled with colonial/Brazilian names.
I rolled my eyes when Alex Ekubbo began to speak in his over the top Igbo accent, one I’ve heard from him a million times. Characters do not have to be caricatures. However, I thought his reaction in the climatic scene was impressive; just as good as Osas and Elivina’s.
I am a big fan of Bolanle Austens-Peter’s work on stage and her directorial debut is a grand enough to keep me invested in any more output. The dialogue was smart (except when Mopelola actually calls her guests the one percent of the one percent), transitions not choppy, and the climax well orchestrated.
Yes, I would recommend The Bling Lagosians to a friend or two.
Jul 15, 2019