TITLE: The Meeting
DIRECTOR: Mildred Okwo
STARRING: Femi Jacobs, Linda Ejiofor, Rita Dominic, Jide Kosoko, Kate Henshaw, Basorge Tariah, Nse Ekpe Etim, Chica Chukwu
PRODUCER: Rita Dominic/Mildred Okwo
WRITER: Tunde Babalola
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jim Bishop
EDITOR: Okey Benson
RUNNING TIME: 132 minutes
BUDGET: Currently Undisclosed
GROSS BOX OFFICE RETURNS: Currently Undisclosed
DATE OF RELEASE: Oct 2012
LOCATION: Abuja, Lagos
COUNTRY AND LANGUAGE: Nigeria, English
The meeting is set in a 5 day story timeline. Makinde Esho (Femi Jacobs) a project manger in a Lagos based construction firm met Ejura (Linda Ejiofor) a coper on landing Abuja airport for a “meeting” with the minister of lands on a Monday morning.
Makinde was hoping to get back to lagos that evening early enough for his daugther’s graduation ceremony at the university of Lagos latter that week.
The Atitude of Clara (Rita Dominic), his inability to make his presentation to the minster and the intrusion of the nice Opinionated “chicky” Ejura provided the stage for a five days Drama, that threatened his attendance at his daughter’s graduation ceremony, but also made him found what he needed but was not searching for. Again the rest is history, ‘cos it was a case of “and they lived happily ever after”.
Whenever I watch a movie that I intend to review, am always keen on making sure that the first note I write is a good one. So was the case for “the meeting”, the opening music was kinda “sweet”, mood setting, I know it was a happy film. So I was happy so I lowered my defenses, but again I find it hard to watch a film and keep defenses lowered. Lol, I sha will see something ni!
So, there was the estab shot of Abuja, which happens to be the national central mosque and the some Big church in Abuja, #confusedlook……erhnmm what’s the title of this film again? I thought that was quite tilted “religiously, and there are tones of other monutmental building that will scream “ABUJA”, so I began to look for reasons why. Nothing till the end of the film vindicated that except that it was an attempt to sell the Federal Capital Territory, (which by the way was done well in the entire film)
Nice to see a lot of the actors take on roles that they seemingly are not known for. I think that was a fantastic effort from the Director. Good I must say, Seeing Femi Jacobs play a slightly older man, more composed, a little slower and contained Exec, was good, his comportment in being Makinde Esho was impeccable. Linda Ejiofore was just too hot, to be contained as she played a slightly younger, chicky (well that’s like her) corper. I would say she brought forth something to that role, I don’t know what to call it but it was a good thing. She seem to be on the driver’s seat of her career.
Jide Kosoko, Basorge Tariah, Kate Henshaw, Chica Chukwu and Nse Ekpe were just on point. I was always fascinated when ever Kosoko appears on screen, that guy has some really awesome facial expressions. He needn’t said every thing, he just looked it. Kate was just cool, with just a few lines for a the entire movie, but just on point, infact in all kate had 20 lines.( 13 short lines in the minister’s reception, 3 on the stair way to the ministry and 4 at the airport), And that did not impede her from impacting us.
Talking about great acting on this film, I would like this to be an open letter to Rita Dominic who played Clara the receptionist. This is the best of you so far.You are the very high point scorer for this movie. Her make up was out of this world. Kudos to the make up team. Cant remember a Nigerian film that has ever transformed a character that far from what we all knew her to be. Nice Job. and to Rita, all the while you’ve been rehearsing. (long rehearsal) “This is your first acting role”. this is true acting, not what we are used to in characterization. Rita took that character, blended it into smoothie and drank the whole cup. high points on that one. #otherstakeque
Her intonation and accent was well placed, not overly done. The comedian (receptionist) also sold drinks, OMG, (nice product placement) subtly done unlike other people like……erhm…..enm……..#justshutup
Then she went:
“Excuse me every body, i sell recharge cards,
i cater for your needs as you wait, thank you”
Rita found her character’s motivation right and “killed it dead”
I’d like to also note (because of its big worth) the Cinematography of this movie. Bishop (and team) did a great job. The pictures where crisp, focus was on point most of the time, except for a few movement shots. Aside that we were cool. Bishop racked-focus a couple of time in the club scene, reception scenes, and the park scene in ways that were story driving and not just for the esthetics of it. Good stuff. The Mirror shot of makinde descending the stairs at the hotel was cool, nicely done.
Sadly in one of the reception scenes when the igbo people came in, you crossed the 180 line so they went 1st from screen right to left, then was cut to when they went from left to right, then again was cut to where they walked from right to left. That was one confusing sequence. It’s a No.
The lighting of the scene at Ejura’s room was cool, the choice of practical lights to light the scene was a good one, and needless to say it worked and looked good. The establishing shot of Abuja (night) with the “glo” billboard was done subtle too, I like. No over the top product placements. I mean….( thank you Mr. Sponsor, its still my film and not a 2hours advert for your product). On cinematography, my best shots where those at the National stadium. I love.
Though I think the hotel dry cleaner would need to use some of his own services, he should press his shirt when he picks it up from the line, yeah? Abi what do you think? (Wardrobe that’s for you)
The MD (Jide Kosoko) had one or two pronunciations obviously wrong, (and forgiven, which I wonder why) I thought that word is “briefing” ( |ˈbriːfɪŋ| ) and not “brieving”. There also was “izzues” instead of “issues” ( |ˈɪʃ(j)uː, ˈɪsjuː| ). A few more takes to get the right pronunciation wont hurt any one, (much) so I take off that blame from the actor and pass it to the Director.
One word for the sound department, I love what you did in the club scene, that was awesome, the balancing was good, people around this part of the word don’t shoot club and party scenes well (as per sound) but you did. Except that you forgot to hide the gaffer tape well in Ejuras NYSC T-shirt in the first car scene. Plus lots of mic ruffles in the kissing scene at the mall, and when Makinde and Ejura walked her down the stairs in the hotel,(after the second visit) I thought that could be better, yea? Cool.
I would say at this point that the Director did a good job.I liked how the 5 days story was played out, I was surprised that we spent about 46 mins 12 secs in the reception in total, I feared that I would be bored, but it did not happen. That’s good. Except that the professor (Basorge) lost continuity of his newspaper twice. Not pardonable Director. Oh, need I say that I loved the narrative economy (for time) which you have a license for, from the scene at the park to the club scene. Club scene however happens to be one of my best. Imagine what they said:
They are dancing Alanta
Atlanta? my Son lives there.
Not Atlanta, they are dancing alanta, Heys Mr M, you’re so ancient
Waiter bring the drink that Ejura ordered for and they both pop the cans open.
To a wonderful night
To people dancing like they are having a combined cardiac arrest
They both just had the camaraderie of true actors, great effort. The other lines I liked were:
Look you are young smart attractive and you could have your pick up guys. What do you see in me?
Maturity, kindness, gentleness, sincerity
(CUTS IN) But am old enough to be your father
And am old enough to fall in love.
Awww, I though that was awesome. Very! if you ask me.
PLOT AND CONTINUITY: 60%
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND ACTING: 85%
MUSIC AND SINGING: 45%
DIRECTING AND EDITING: 80%
CINEMATOGRAPHY AND SPECIAL EFFECTS: 60%
CRITICAL GRADE: 66%
FINAL GRADE : “B-“
MY FINAL WORD
So, after I “met” the meeting, I think it’s a happy film, and no one should get too critical on it. (lol see who is talking J ) Films like this are raising the bar and by and by we would begin to get value for money and time. We soon enough would be able to assure investors too of a reliable ROI. So I can say a Yes to this film. If it comes back to the cinema again, please go and see it, but before then (like we say before now) GRAB YOUR COPY NOW! (because its out on DVD). Go ahead and enjoy a good laugh and an “awwww” moment at the end. Family film. Thumbs up for the meeting.
Review by Tope Alake