Movie Review: Captivating Entertaining On-point (CEO) | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Movie Review: Captivating Entertaining On-point (CEO)

Posted: Jul 16, 2016 at 6:56 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hazeez Balogun

Any time a Kunle Afolayan movie is to be released, the work is usually the most anticipated that year. This year is not different. When the filmmaker extraordinaire announced that he will be releasing his latest work, CEO this year, the industry was all hears. Many expected another master piece while some critics are waiting to see if he will get it wrong this time.

He got it right with ‘Figurine’, ‘Phone Swap’ and ‘October 1’, the time is ripe for him to get it wrong. As usual, there was a heavy build-up to the eventual release. There is always Razzmatazz before a Kunle Afolayan release and this was no different. With the partnership of AfricaMagic, the  trailer of CEO was aired on a regular basis on their channels.

Then came the French Connection. Before the film even got premiered in Nigeria, it was premiered in international airspace. Selected celebs including journalists were flown to France by AirFrance who as well are a major sponsor of the movie. They got to watch the movie on their seats while in the air and there was a brief ceremony in France when they landed.

The French Connection does not end there, apart from some part of the movie being shot in France, French auto giant, Peugeot also sponsored the movie.  This is very glaring in the movie when the product (508) was strategically placed in key scenes. Also, I think I spotted an Air France executive popping champagne in the movie.Kunle Afolayan

If you missed the flight to France, chances are you must have missed the Premiere at the Eko Hotel in Lagos last weekend as well. Before mere mortals could get a chance to see it at the cinemas, there was yet another premiere and screening at Eko Hotel. It was for the power brokers, movers and shakers and heavy weights in all industries. I had to literally beg to get for a press tag (thanks Victor Akande).

At the event were also top political dignitaries like the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde and Lagos State House of Assembly member, Desmond Elliot.

Speaking at the event, Kunle Afolayan thanked everyone who had supported the movie most importantly sponsors. He even gave brief stories on how he met the sponsors and how they keyed into his dream.

Afolayan also explained why he had to do a film that captures Africa. “I noticed that Nigerian movies are watched all over the continent yet all these movies are telling Nigerian stories. I saw that there was a gap in the market when it comes to movies that is African in scope that was how I decided to shoot CEO.”

After speeches, the movie eventually got played. From the very beginning one could tell the movie will be filled with suspense. And when the suspense was over, there was yet another surprise for the viewers. This made the movie one you could not get your eyes off till the end.

The script was also well put together. The story is about a multinational telecoms company (TransWire) which has branches across the world. The head of the Nigerian branch had recently resigned and the company had put together an assessment retreat for five of their top executives from across Africa where one will emerge as the eventual CEO of the Nigerian branch.Kunle Afolayan with Lai Mohammed at the premiere

They were lodged in a luxury retreat (Inagbe Resort) where they have daily sessions with a very curious assessor (Angelique Kidjo). She also has an even curiouser method of weeding out those that were not fit for the position. That is where the Musical Chairs game which is featured so often in the trailer comes in.

The executives started dying off one after the other and it was a mystery as to who was killing them. The movie had a lot of twists and turns through-out which keeps viewers guessing. Even when all is revealed in the end and the killer is found, there were still further surprises. The final twist came at the right time, as the movie, like most Afolayan film when they are about to end, had started to turn Nollywoodish.

The cast did a good job. That is expected as they are the crème of the crop. They include, Ivorian actress and model; Aurelie Eliam; South African actor, Nicolaos Panagioto-poulos; Moroccan star, and Fatim Layachi. Also in the movie were Hilda Dokubo, Haitian actor and model, Jimmy Jean-Louis and Kenyan actor, Peter King and Kunle Afolayan’s production staple, Kemi Lala-Akindoju. Musician, Adekunle Gold also played Cameo.

Not to leave out the main man who took on the role of the main character, Wale Ojo. If you had admiration for the man’s craft in the past, after watching this movie, you will be kissing his feet. He played the role of a happy-go-lucky executive who had to unravel who is killing his colleagues. He ended up being the prime suspect. Then he went all Chinese. He even performed Tai Chi poses. Only someone who has practiced for a long time can perform those moves. He even spoke fluent Chinese.

The crew also was on their A-game. I am a keen observer of technical hitches and the few found were negligible and did not affect the story in anyway. Also, due to accents it was hard to understand the English some of the non-Nigerian cast was saying. You have to listen very very carefully. However, looking at it from the other end – now we know how other countries feel when watching Nigerian movies.

CEO is definitely the movie to beat this year. Any movie that will snatch the major awards from it next year will have some work to do. For those still waiting for an Afolayan fail, maybe next time.

What people are saying on twitter about the movie: