Wednesday, 6 May 2020

The Set Up Movie: Was it worth the hype?

Hello lovelies,

If you an avid Nigerian twitter user, you most definitely would have come across one or two tweets about the movie "The Set Up" directed by Niyi Akinmolayan.

As an avid Film & TV viewer, I decided to watch this movie because I saw positive comments and hype from lots of tweeps. The movie boasted an enviable casts of actors and actresses like Adesua-Etomi Wellington ( our own Nollywood sweetheart synonymous to the likes of Reese Witherspoon), Dakore Egbuson-Akande and Joke Silva amongst others. So, i wasn't too surprised by the hype. However, I had to watch it for myself to make an informed decision as to whether its worth the hype or not. 

After watching it, here's what i think; I think its a nice movie to watch, but NO its not worth the hype. Sorry to burst your bubble, I just wont get on the hype-bandwagon.

Now lets get to the nitty-gritty of the story line which is where all my criticisms come from;

The movie follows the life of Chike, a girl born into a dysfunctional family of criminal parents who has a best friend, Grace, who is equally from a down-trodden family. Chike is portrayed as a protector of her rather timid friend Grace. Her love for her friend knows no bounds as she agreed to be a drug mule, just so she can get enough money to pay off Grace's father who wanted to sell her into Sex trafficking.

However as the story progresses, we see Chike and Grace have become criminals involved in the very lucrative, highly dangerous world of drug trafficking. Very early in the movie we are introduced to madam; a con artist and exclusive club owner. It is insinuated by Madam that Chike has successfully trafficked drugs to Malaysia, Hong Kong, Europe and across intercontinental lines, with over 10 to 15 successful trips to her name. Madam is introduced as a saviour for the girls. Madam wants the girls to work for her so she can fulfill her own personal vendetta against the Elesho family.

Here comes my first criticism:  Mafia /drug related movies are an absolute pastime of mine. I have watched movies like The Godfather, Scarface, American Gangster etc, and recently Netflix has flooded their streaming service with shows like Ozark, Narcos, Queen of the South, Breaking Bad etc. So I have a bit of knowledge of what it entails to be a drug trafficker. My knowledge comes from these movies in have watched over the years.

What I am trying to say is, for anyone to be a successful drug trafficker across intercontinental lines is a big deal. It involves a lot of money, connections and power. Successful drug mules make lots of money. Hence why some people opt to go into that world of crime. Now you say she has had 10 to 15 successful trips right? Then Chike should be in money, she should be very rich and powerful. She herself should have a successful drug empire with people working for her. She should not be portrayed as new comer drug mule who needs to run from NDLEA into the hands of a con artist / whorehouse mistress.
There are levels to this crime game. A drug trafficker is senior to a con artist. That's my opinion. 
Also, drug traffickers are hardend criminals. They don't just blurt out information about their operations at the sight of threat. Chike blurting out how she ran her operations to Madam at the first encounter is very out of character for seasoned experienced drug traffickers.

If Chike has made 10-15 successful trips she was not portrayed in that light, and that is a huge hole in the story. Asides being very rich, she will also be very powerful. Trafficking drugs is not only about money its about connections and links with other equally powerful people all around the world,  who, at the snap of their fingers can make things happen. That Madam (Tina Mba) is no match for Chike if indeed she has done 10-15 trips . Also where is all the money Chike made from her 10-15 trips? I didn't get any glimpse of power, wealth or opulence. Her portrayal did not do justice to the character of a drug trafficker. 

Also, i just could not understand how Madam could walk out of that building when it was swarmed with NDLEA without being stopped or questioned. Is she that powerful? 
Afterwards, we see Chike and Grace now working with Madam, even though i still find that incredulous, i'll just ignore it. We are shown a scene of a Chike snatching a laptop and running away like a common pick pocket. What a demotion! From a trafficker to a common street urchin. That's a big No! That is for small time criminals. I feel this story line of a drug trafficker was not well researched and developed. It wasn't authentic. It was bland!

Moving on, Chike is tasked with helping Edem get marry Motunrayo Elesho.At least that was what she thought she was doing, until she realised the truth. I think her acting in those scenes were not authentic enough. I guess i yearned for more. More action, more expression. Now lets talk about the charge against Bamidele Elesho. I think its just so watery. Its a claim without any strong evidence. The rich and powerful have lawyers for situations like this. A solid lawyer will tear that into pieces. Also, why does that have to translate into transferring of shares? Someone please help me understand as I have so many questions left unanswered.

Along the line we get to see that Chike is being set up to take the fall with Bamidele. It doesn't just make sense to me that Grace could not tell Chike about this plot for a whole 3 months. Yes, yes, i guess she was being watched but common.... they both sleep in the same room . Common friend!
Which brings me back to my earlier point, If Chike is such a notorious drug trafficker that the US Drug Enforcement wants her, then she should have been portrayed to be powerful and highly connected.
Another question that got raised  in my head is , How possible is it to transfer shares of such magnitude without the presence of lawyers? Does death invalidate the transfer of shares already signed? Assuming it was a legal transfer

At the end we see a face-off between Madam, Chike and Edem. i must say it was not a bit impressed at all. It was lack lustre. 

On a positive note, i enjoyed watching the movie, the picture quality was very good, the story line is quite different from what we have been exposed to in Nollywood in the past. It seems to that there is a gradual shift to crime related movies after the good reception of King of Boys.

Did the actors and actresses deliver their roles, well..sort of. However, I would say the best delivery was Madam played by Tina Mba ( Aunty Tina and I were neighbours many years ago. I was just a tiny winy girl less than 5 and she was a big aunty already into acting back then). Another positive to this film is the soundtracks. 

Overall i would give it a 6/10, and i would recommend it to friends and family. I see the quality of movies coming out of Nollywood getting better and better. 

Have you watched the movie? What are your thoughts on it? 

One Love