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Movie Review: Hits and Misses of Toka Mcbaror’s Lotanna

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By Isaballa Akinseye

Celebrity stylist turned publisher (Fame magazine), Ifan is at it again and this time, Nollywood has taken his fancy. He wears several hats in his debut production, ‘Lotanna’ including actor, costumier, producer and even takes credit for creating the story.

‘Lotanna,’ after several years in the making with a change of cast finally premiered at the Nigerian box office this month. Directed by Toka Mcbaror, the movie stars Liz Benson Ameye, Jide  Kosoko, Chris Attoh, Chris Okagbue, Keturah King, Victor Olaotan, Meg Ontanwa, Ama K. Abebrese, Henry Adofo, Ifan and Raymond Iorkohol.

It follows the story of its titular character, Lotanna who has to offset a debt owed to Don Creflo by his late father.

The Hits

  1. Costume. Ifan is in his element here! He nails this part to a tee. The costumes evoke the era in which the film took place – the 80s. To be honest, we did not expect any less.

    Movie Review, ‘Lotanna’
  2. Music. When you have Praiz on the soundtrack and Tee-Y Mix playing a music producer, your expectations are quite high. Thankfully, ‘Lotanna’ does not disappoint in its music selection to reflect the period.
  3. Photography. Again, ‘Lotanna’ benefits from the lenses and trained eyes of Nigerian photography royalty such as Kelechi Amadi Obi and Yetunde Babaeko. Their experience is evident in not just the quality but the texture of the photography which beautifully captures the 80s.

The Misses

  1. Story. The story starts off on a good note – a child witnesses the death of his father and makes it his life ambition to walk in his musical steps. Once the Don Creflo character shows up, the movie begins to lose steam going from drama to melodrama to comedy. The story is stretched and hurriedly wrapped up. Now who is to take the blame? The story creator (Ifan), the screenwriter (Kemi Adesoye) or the contributing writer who was responsible for the first screenplay (Godson Ukaegbu)? Or perhaps, a more experienced director would have done a better job.
  2. Directing. From the acting to the pacing of the film, so many things went wrong. Toka Mcbaror would have done well not to get carried away by beautiful costumes, a star cast, great music and stellar photography. A lot more work was needed in the area of characterisation save for the veteran acts such as Liz Benson, Jide Kosoko, Victor Olaotan and Bimbo Manuel. Was Toka aiming for a drama or comedy or a romcom? We are not quite sure where the film sits.
  3. Acting. While very easy on the eyes, Chris Okagbue was not convincing in his portrayal of Lotanna and the chemistry with Ama K. Abrebrese came off as more rehearsed than real. Their acting paled in comparison with the more experienced members of the cast.
  4. Editing. The movie could have done with a good chop of redundant scenes that did nothing to move the story forward. While the recurrent motif of people’s hands being nailed provided some comic relief, it became tiresome and boring. Also, some of the more serious scenes such as the robbery could have done with a tighter edit to heighten the impact of the action.
  5. Makeup/special effects. All those nailed hands (if they were so important to the story) could have been handled more competently to elicit sympathy from the viewer. A real shame and missed opportunity!

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