Out of Luck
Femi Branch, Prince Jide Kosoko, Linda Ejiofor, Wole Ojo, Tope Tedela, Adesua Etomi, Chigul, Niyi Johnson,
Out of Luck follows the adventures of a young lottery operator whose life turns upside down when a local gangster insists that he pays out on a lottery he did not win. His attempts to pay the gangster by taking him on a thrill ride from the slums of Lagos Island to the mansions of Ikoyi and back again.
Naz Onuzo & Zulu Onuekwusi
"He's your brother. He was always our problem" Bisola (Adesua Etomi)
The writing especially the writing for the villain
The action sequences
The smartest film industries exalt the writers. Always above the actors and sometimes above everyone else, and for good reason too.
It’s almost embarassing (in fact, it is embarrassing) that it took me this long to see this movie and that I needed so many reminders to see it because it is such a gem of the movie. The illusion though, and I will point this out, is that it appears to be something. It appears to be one thing. It appears to be a thug movie, and forgive me but I’m not always willing to watch one of those.
When you start the movie, you realize a lot of things but one of the things that you realize is that this movie is so much more, and now we are going to try and touch on all the things that you realize while watching this movie.
Out of Luck is set up as a simple story of a young man, Dayo, living in the slums and running a lottery outpost/location. One day the king thug/the baba nla/ the drug dealer – Innocent – stops at his stall and says he has the winning lottery numbers. Dayo puts it in for him and we think that is the end of it all. Except that it’s not.
That night, Innocent comes to Dayo. He had the numbers too late and the numbers had turned out to be the winning numbers. For anyone else, “oh well, tough luck”. For Innocent though, he does not accept this. He blames it on Dayo and gives Dayo a week to give him the N5,000,000 that he would have otherwise won. Enter Dayo’s dilemma.
Except the movie is not just about that. It’s about building relationships, it’s about the importance of family, it’s about the individual struggle, it’s about the love struggle, it’s about being wise, it’s about being a sharp guy, it’s about things not being what they seem. In essence, it’s about more than what you think it is and this is how it wins with the audience. The initial story is too one-track to draw a large crowd, but the story that it is, as wide-reaching as it is, is able to accomplish this.
Enter the importance of the writer. Out of Luck is written by Naz Onuzo and with this movie he has entered Tunde Babalola territory in my mind. This is because this story is really the writer’s prize. As already established, the storyline is more than just one thing which is a credit to the writer but the greatest credit is the characters he has created. Two of them stand out the most in this movie. First of all, it’s the character of Bisola (played by Adesua Etomi). Somehow he has managed to do something that old nollywood doesn’t do too often – paint the sister-in-law in a great light. In Bisola we have a character that not just every woman, but every human, should aspire to be. She’s so naturally unifying and endearing and Adesua does her immense justice. She’s a character you love to love and can only dream of becoming. Bisola is one of those characters that causes the audience to love an actor even after the movie is done.
The second character is the one and only Innocent. I am astounded that Femi Branch did not win all of the awards for this performance because he took this bad boy to the cross and NAILED IT! However, he would not have been able to create such an impression without the writer. You see the one thing the writer did greatly here is create a wise villain. I never hexxperrerrit! The phrase “loving to hate you” has never held so much meaning for me. Innocent is one character that you will hate from within you but you will still manage to be very impressed with him for being such a sharp guy.
One other thing the writer does that wows me is the very simple fact that the conflict makes sense. There’s a reason for Innocent’s actions and it’s more than just money and it’s also believable. There’s a reason that the lead actor chooses to go through option C instead of A or B which would be easier (like call the police or whatever) and the writer shows you why the option taken is the only available one. The tin make sense.
Having said that, we have seen too many stories where you can tell that the writer had a great vision but the director could not capture it (so hats off to Niyi Akinmolayan), or the actors could not translate it (so hats off to the entire cast). Tope Tedela as our lead nails it and so does Linda Ejiofor and everyone in between.
It is, however, still not without its flaws. A major flaw though is in the action sequence at the end (even though I appreciated that warped humor that manifested itself in the music used), the shoot out could have been articulated better and the final scene could also have been done better without seeming rushed. However, it does not take away from the quality of the movie.