Walter Taylaur, the director of the award-winning short film, Wages, holds his audience spellbound with his tale on kidnapping fused with a lot of humour, though the wit does not make the crime any less traumatizing and dehumanizing.
Taylour rightly understands that there is hardly anything more riveting in a film than introducing conflict between characters who share common interests or pursue common causes. The greatest achievement of Gbomo-Gbomo Express is livening up the otherwise brooding story of an objectionable crime like kidnapping with comic relief and subtext.
In 2001 or 2002, Aquila Njamah directed Danger (Ramsey Noah, Gloria Young), a remarkable gloomy story on kidnapping gone wrong. However, Gbomo-Gbomo Express tells its own brilliant story without sounding or looking like Danger; a point Nigerian film-makers must underline.
Austin (Ramsey Noah) chooses to celebrate his record company’s new deal in a night club, makes Cassandra’s (Osas Ighodaro’s) acquaintance and the two enjoy a swell time together. However, they are kidnapped as they leave the club and the abductors demand an outrageous sum as ransom.
Ramsey Noah delivers one of his best performances yet, one that comes very close to his portrayal of Taiwo and Kehinde in Dangerous Twins. Gbenro Ajibade speaks the Warri variant of the Pidgin English believably whilst Kiki Omeili (Blessing) interprets the role of an unrefined girl superbly.
Gideon Okeke shows another angle to his versatility as the ruthless Francis. His slogan, “What will the righteous do?”, is quite funny. Shaffy Bello displays aplomb with ease as the very wealthy Alexis Osita-Park. However, there is no significance to the roles played by Ken Okolie and Alex Ekubo.
The film’s dialogue is captivating and there is no scarcity of conflicts, raising the stakes as the film unfolds. The relationship between Mrs. Osita Park and her step-daughter smacks of family politics; enchanting.
In the end, uncontrolled greed is an ill wind as Filo demonstrates. Ironically, the real culprit may escape with his crime aided by a criminal justice system, where thorough investigation is an exception rather than the rule. The scene where the real culprit is revealed should have enjoyed a little more screen time because that dénouement seems to have taken place in a split second.
Undoubtedly, Gbomo-Gbomo Express is poised to win several awards in the coming award season and Walter Taylour is definitely a Nollywood practitioner to watch. The producers realize that the film could journey beyond Nigeria and subtitle the movie, whose dialogue is mostly in Pidgin English; brilliant.
Was the flashback necessary and why were some of the kidnap scenes repeated? The pregnancy test kit did not look wet.
The crime that Gbomo-Gbomo Express makes its theme is one for which Nigeria has become notorious in the last decade; a vice that has become commercialized where hundreds of millions of naira have cumulatively been paid as ransom. Though some states in the country have promulgated laws, prescribing the death penalty for kidnapping; it is worrisome that the crime still persists. Effective and efficient policing will curb the menace of kidnapping more than anything else.