Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Did Bola Agbaje's 'Gone Too Far' Go Too Far into Field of Absurdity?

The Pan African Film Festival is currently in Los Angeles so my cousins and I decided... oh let's see some films. Right? Okay, so I wanted to see Gone Too Far, because it had O.C Ukeje in it. I'd seen read the synopsis and reckoned it might be cool to see what it would end up being. So, this is my review of Bola Agbaje's Gone Too Far, directed by Destiny Ekaragha. The film was originally written as a stage play in 2007, and was made into a feature film in 2014. A young Nigerian guy, Ikudaisi (played by O.C Ukeje) joins his mother (played by Golda John Abiola ) and younger brother (played by Malachi Kirby) in London after many years of separation. The film sought to tell the story of Ikudaisi's integration into the society his family lived in, with particular emphasis on how his arrival affected his brother's social life... or lack of it.

 So, overall, the movie was okay. Honestly, it was. But I had a lot of issues with the film. But before I go into that, let's talk about the name of O.C Ukeje's character. The Hell is Ikudaisi?????? Reallly??? Of ALLLLLL the names to give to your character? Iku - death. Daisi - Establishes this one. So the name basically means Death Establishes This One. No, I'm not being pedantic, that name is soooo 1953 Yoruba Land! They did NOT TRY with that name. Haba!

Okay, I just thought to get that minor peeve out of the way. Secondly, I don't get why the entire story line of the film was made to last the whole day! Okay, so here's what happened. Ikudaisi landed from Nigeria... in slippers and some 'hip hop hurray' neck chains and baggy pants (troziz... if you don't like AmericanSpeak). After the initial greeting and unnecessary elongation of scenes, the Mother asks Yemi to go to the shops to pick up some Okro for food for Ikudaisi's meal. From the beginning of the film to the very end... it was this Okro these boys went to buy oh! The street chases, the ridiculousness of running into girls, the unnecessary social commentary, the fight scenes...EVERYTHING was in the cause of this Okro buying. Just how far away was this shop where the Okro was supposed to be purchased? For someone who had arrived on a 6 hour trip from Nigeria, who was supposedly meant to be fed and allowed to rest, Ikudaisi was quite spritely.

There were also some absurdities in the movie which made one ask "Really now? Really?" For instance, when the Uncle brought Ikudaisi from the airport, instead of taking him home, he left him in the car and went into the shops for a cigarette? The dramatic exit of Ikudaisi from the car when his mother arrived was very lacklustre. How come Ikudaisi and Yemi were so unfamiliar with each other? Did they never speak on the phone? Was Ikudaisi living under a rock? It's one thing not to know your brother's fashion sense, it's another thing to NOT know anything about him. There was NO explanation as to why the brothers didn't know each other. Please living on two continents is not an excuse.

 Also, I the general idea of trying to show cultural diversity, but the scenes with those two girls were very tiresome. We got the picture; Armani (Shanika Warren-Markland) is a confused girl who wanted to get her boyfriend jealous but her existence  did very little to move the plot forward. I get wanting to sprinkle romance and jealousy into a story, but there's a point when too much of something just leaves the audience tired. While I quite liked Paris (Adelayo Adedayo), the attempt to show her as the girl who was pining for Yemi, while he chased after Armani, fell flat. There was nothing in her body language or dialogue to show that. I must mention that the scene where Armani and Yemi confronted themselves in the park with people watching was just... "God when is this movie going to end?" In all, the film was okay. I'm not even going to compare it to a Nollywood, since I don't even think Nollywood flicks are made for you to even engage your brain.

 I liked the mother in this film. Golda John was funny and natural. There were times where there was zero chemistry between her and the sons but hey... compared to the other actors... she was okay. O.C Ukeje's Yoruba was quite wonky... but that's okay. He's an Igbo guy speaking Yoruba... we forgive him. In conclusion, this might have been best left as a stage play. Stretching it into a full feature film was going too far!

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