Ini Edo, Deyemi Okanlawon, Morris Sesay, Seun Yaduat, Jorge Blaq, Michael Bassey, Emem Ufot
Four close friends with big dreams who live together in the slums struggle to overcome their lowly circumstances, and realise that the journey to greatness is one that must be bravely fought for.
Dreams is the story of four struggling young Nigerian men living in the slums with dreams to make it big and escape their currently reality someday.
The movie “Dreams” is really like a dream. It is not endearing in the sense of “oh it’s so groundbreaking” nor any of the usual manners. Dreams gets you with the combined effect of the cinematography and the music. The locations are believable and our characters in the location feel natural. From the opening scene with that high angle shot and that piano music that essentially tells its own story, you feel like you are in for a treat.
At the end of the movie you wish it didn’t end. It has been an hour and 13 minute but it just flows from one scene to the next. But what was the movie really about though? It is not about anything heavy. Nothing new is presented in the storyline. It is more of a documentary of a few days in the life of some young men who have different dreams. It could have been done quite tackily but thankfully with a combination of skill in cinematography, skill in music, skill in writing and some skill in performance it comes off as aesthetic delight. At the end of the movie, the characters feel like your brothers.
You don’t come out of this movie feeling euphoric or angry. It doesn’t really have a message, even though one was predictably tacked on so that we could have a climax, but the entirety of the film still feels great. Even without the predictable happy ending at the end and the complementary lack of a happy ending for one character (so we can claim “unpredictable”), even if the characters had ended up still living in the slums and still navigating life in Lagos, it would have still been a beautiful story.
Dreams is raw and still flowery. It doesn’t fail by just telling you about the slums instead of showing it, however, it also doesn’t let go of all inhibitions and show the pure slums (like in “Hotel Choco“) because that’s not its storyline. The casting and levels of the performances were also well coordinated. It’s hard to explain but it felt like actors like Deyemi in this movie set the bar of “natural” and “pure”, and other actors in the scenes (even those who had previously been incapable of attaining greatness), lifted up their capacities and met this bar.
Hats off to Deyemi (and our editor too) on the timing with the voice overs. It’s not an easy feat to pull off but the voice overs were in sync with the scenes and music, not just in timing but also in tone.
Save for a few negligible shortcomings, Dreams is a sample of what a feel good movie can be without having to be a chick flick.