by Wilfred Okiche
The latest Nollywood-Ghollywood collaboration comes in the form of the dramatic thriller In Line from Firepix studio production.
Debo (Uzor Arukwe) is an ex-convict recently sprung from jail, thanks to the contacts of his well- connected mother, Tina Mba, in yet another underwritten, under baked role. He goes back home to his wife but finds that adjusting to normal life after being incarcerated for an unspeakable crime is easier imagined than done.
Kate (Adesua Etomi) is the abused but privileged wife who has had to pick up her husband’s advertising business and save it from going belly under during the years he has been away. Debo’s return throws an already frigid Kate further down the edge psychologically and his insecurities and lack of patience puts a strain on their already brittle union. He plays his hand and hires a private investigator, Bella (Sika Osei),- who may or may not be nursing romantic feelings for him,- to trail his wife, on suspicions of infidelity, a move that shakes the very foundation of their union.
Produced by Chinyere Ozoemena and directed by Tope Oshin, In Line is a square narrative that boasts a gripping story and some lukewarm performances. It starts out as a drama but graduates into a twisty thriller that takes several turns while trying to sustain audience interest. Some of these turns are smart, some are wild and some are just plain WTF?
There is nothing technically appealing or elegant about Tope Oshin’s direction and she lets the big sets, big city and beautiful actors speak for her majority of the time. Debo’s mom is friends with friends who have access to the presidency so this casually explains how two young people like Debo and Kate can afford such luxurious digs.
Tinsel alums Chris Attoh and Leonora Okine,- they also played husband and wife in the third season of the MTV series, Shuga,- also costar as characters who get caught up in the lead couple’s bizarre domestic affairs. Attoh’s character is a lawyer, enabler and best friend to Debo while Okine plays the role of personal assistant and sounding board to Kate.
Nothing is quite what it seems though and In Line is a rough contemplation of how people play games with the emotions and sensibilities of those they claim to love. Rough because the idea is there, the potential to stand out exists but the finished product isn’t at all smooth. With shaky editing, especially with the sound, and iffy mixing, it becomes easy to lose track of conversations.
Arukwe and Etomi are positively watchable thanks to their natural camera friendly looks and they both make for believable victims of their choices and desires even when the plot, and screenplay, put together by Diche Enunwa and Temitope Bolade-Akinbode are both spiraling out of control.
The result of it this is that In Line never really asserts itself as a believable yarn. It exists more as an escapist product from the minds of people fancying themselves spinners of tales as wild as they can get away with. It doesn’t quite work and Etomi subsequently finds it tough selling her final act. Sika Osei seems out of her depth and Ms Okine waltzes around her scenes with nothing to do.
In Line is made for those who like their films fun, fast, and not particularly drenched in logic.
The writer tweets from @drwill20