The Bling Lagosians makes a dreamy attempt to explore what life in Lagos for the top elite can be like. It goes over the top to establish this fantastic idea sprinkled about Lagos in reality – the 1% of the 1%.
The director is clearly fascinated by this lifestyle as well, however, fails to clearly explore the blueprint ‘how’ to explain to a hungry and ambitious audience that might want to make an attempt at this kind of lifestyle as well. For example, Iya Oloja, what really does she do for the Holloways that buys them time and wealth? Is it spiritual or physical?
Mr. Holloway (Gbenga Titiloye) is amiable and quite loveable, but greatly flawed in the area of womanizing and reckless spending. At first, we are made to believe his wife, Mrs. Holloway (Elvina Ibru) is the extravagant one in terms of spending, but soon, one is not sure of what to think of the Holloway family but foolish.
The movie makes it look intentional that the Holloway family is being portrayed as not wise in decision making, especially when Mr. Holloway’s two daughters are foreign read, but decide on being a marriage counsellor (Osas Ighodaro) who is unsuccessful at her own marriage, and a screenwriter (Sharon Ooja) who never makes a sale in this movie but keeps talking about the Oscars.
The movie does well, though, in addressing the frustrations of a screenwriter and of a producer. There are always big dreams of making that big movie that would go straight to cinema, but the realities on ground continually frustrate these efforts. This also goes to show that a lot goes into successfully producing a “big budget” Nollywood movie than critics give credit for.
There is no clear-cut character arc for our protagonist, Mr. Holloway. Many of his character traits are also not logically mergeable. If St. Ives is an inheritance unfortunately handed down to a prodigal Holloway, let us know. Then, and only then would any of the decisions made by Mr. Holloway be logical. The movie makes it clear that everything is his hard work, and it is misleading to show him be that successful, yet be that silly in decision making – life doesn’t work that way.
There is no clear relevant story in this movie. There are attempts to tell a story, but no one is ever really told.
The movie is also very short. More time could have been invested in making a neat fabric. Look at the marriage counsellor, for example, nothing addresses why she cheated on her husband in the first place. Was she in a counselling session with an irresistible stud, and did things go awry? What happened? We do not know. All the movie successfully shows us is that when a man starts acting up in the home, it probably is the woman that is the reason.
This same reason is almost explored with Mr. Holloway as the reason he cheats on Mrs. Holloway, though very weak. However, very early in the movie, he blurts out no one should ever compare themself with his wife, as long as she is the one that bears the name Mrs. Holloway. This then throws us back into the search pool on why Mr. Holloway is such a cheat, but we never really find any genuine answers but the sickening patriarchal idea that a man is entitled to have multiple sexual partners, even if he is married, which is backed up by the opening tennis scene and the follow up church scene. No one ever really addresses infidelity; it is like a normal way of life for these “well-meaning” men. Too bad.
The movie claims that the reason Mr. Holloway loses his company is because he was sleeping with his best friend’s wife who revenges and takes over his company in an “elaborate” scheme, but all the while, the director busies himself showing the perfect recipe for downfall – reckless spending and no accountability. I hope the director is not trying to confuse his audience in the bid to show much glitz and glam.
There are a lot of nice things to emulate from the West. One of those things is the absolute freedom to date whoever one so pleases, and spend your money however you choose. While copying, let us not forget to always figure in the moral, logical and “justifiable” compass by which certain things are being done.
Isedehi Aigbogun, also known as ISD, is a staunch academic, holding a B.A., M.A., and PhD (in view) in English Language.
She’s a Screenwriter, Screenplay Analyst, Consultant, and Film Scriptic.