This collaborative cinematic venture by Sneeze films, iFactory, CEM and Filmone was
released all over Nigeria on May 28, 2021.
The plot follows a seemingly simple yet intricate story of how six people innocently found themselves in a wrong place during a crisis and were desperate to escape from an unavoidable lockdown.
This idea must have been conceived about five years ago after the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Nigeria with the very heroic act of Dr. Ameyo Adadevoh, who insited on putting the Liberian national, Patrick Sawyer, in quarantine after his blood work revealed a potential threat. It caused significant scare in Nigeria and globally.
Inwang’s “Lockdown” grips the viewer from the opening sequences right through, with crisp pictures, clean sound, engaging dialogues, superb photography designed to hold the audience in anticipation of the next actions for most of the 150-minute duration.
Following past offerings of the filmmaker, namely Body Language, The Last 3 Digits, American Driver, Crazy People, Alter Ego, and Merry Men 2, there is significant improvement in screen play, production design, and general outlook, scene set-up, particularly directing the talents where some good directors noticeably miss the mark.
Right from the early sequences with Baba Sunny (Charles Awurum) coming an inch close to the viewers’ face, the director established a very high sense of cinematic purpose with ideal representation of Nigerian border control and the usually busy airport (an otherwise difficult terrain for production work). The arrival of Mr. Omah, the businessman from Libya, his illness and subsequent fainting in the hospital was very well creatively captured.
There was persistent sense of urgency culminating in the six key characters and their dragnet. The key character Sunny (Josh 2 Funny) a poor boy who won N10m lottery but must first get treatment from a domestic accident, oh he had a most fascinating outing in his art to the duo of Kunle the groom (Benjamin Toutou) and his best man (Jidekene Achufuisi) whose humanitarian effort to save a dying child got them unfortunately trapped. There was the job seeker Angela (Ini Idima Okojie) who had to seek a medical report. The greed of Nurse Chiamaka (Chioma Akpota) who had to force out extra promisory cash from a colleague to remain on duty to the delivery man (Tony Umez) whose one last delivery that could have been avoided put him in limbo unable to attend to his dying wife.
The excellently choreographed arrival of teams of policemen led by Kabiru Musa (Jerry Amilo) who erroneously first introduced himself as CSP while wearing the rank of DSP though corrected himself afterwards, but it was already printed. The arrival of the police team and their anti-riot gear were efficiently handled. Quite electrifying and nearly patronizing of the typical sloppy stereotype Nigerian police were accustomed to. The fire effects were very believable.
Among the leading players, Deyemi Okanlawon, whose night out with a side chick denied him the big opportunity he needed to be with his loving wife during their first delivery. Not to mention Dr Njoku (Omotola Jalade ) whose speech, carriage and composure as leader of the pack was at optimum.
The range in expressions and intensity of the actors were commendable.
The beginning scenes in the isolation centre were hazy and mostly overexposed, but in that same scene, we had the most comic reliefs that made the film worth a standing ovation.
On closer observation, one would wonder how fortuitous these six characters found themselves in the same impressionable Calvary hospital with just one lukewarm security personnel who affected the initial internal lockdown
With this film, which I urge every Nigerian to see, Moses Inwang has put a strong cinematic voice forward. He has clearly demonstrated commitment, passion and craft, delivering creativity in a compelling way.
**Onwochei, a filmmkaker is based in Lagos, Nigeria