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Chioma Nnanna Reviews Kunle Afolayan’s New Movie ‘The C.E.O

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The CEO

*Spoiler Alert*

Plot twists revealed

Ok so yesterday, I took my pretty self to the cinemas at 8:30pm to see Kunle Afolayan‘s “The C.E.O”. I can think of a million other things I could have been doing at 8:30pm but it’s Kunle Afolayan so I’m thinking, yeah, this should be worth it. Mind you, I paid full weekend price, popcorn, the works. I like being completely armed so if I don’t enjoy a movie, it’s the movie’s fault. No excuses.

Now, let’s begin with the pros, you know, because positive vibes. The picture quality was good and there were a lot of scenic shots. They made great use of the beautiful ocean scenery and natural light. Loved it. The set, of course, was great (I should have led with this.) Most of the movie was shot in Inagbe beach resort, a really great spot on the outskirts of Lagos. There were a few scenes outside Nigeria as well. The entire production was great; location, casting, et all.

Something else I found really impressive was the dialogue. Tade Ogidan did an excellent job there. I’m always particularly interested in phrasing and diction, and I was not disappointed at all. There were little or no signs of struggle in the back and forth. It’s important to pay attention to all the nitty-gritty of a screenplay, which is something Nollywood movies have shown to lack, so I really appreciate Afolayan’s effort in keeping it clean.

It doesn’t end there. I’d have to give props to the team on appropriate casting. Wale Ojo is always a good choice. The man is just a delight to watch and whatever fitness regime he’s been on is paying off nicely cos that body looking really good. He gave us that sexy sugar pappy vibe playing Kola Alabi. Give me a sugar daddy with ambition and heart any day. Also make sure that bank account fat cos what’s the point if not, right? But, I drift.

Though I was just introduced to a few of the other actors, they showed professionalism and such a wealth of experience that was a delightful relief. Many times, when Nollywood decides to cast non-Nigerian characters they pick the first one they find and call it a day. The result is always a ludicrous mess but it’s good to see the effort put into bringing the best performances.

Still on the casting, I think the most impressive performance, in my opinion, was Nico Panagio as Riikard Van Outen. No, not just because he’s one sexy slice of vanilla; he’s also a great actor. Facial expression for days, body language for years, the man set out to, as they say, killummmm. I, and my ovaries, were mighty impressed. Fatym Layachi and Aurelia Eliam both brought their A-game as well. Oh, and Angelique Kidjo. With charisma like that, it’s hard to find any faults with the music veteran’s performance. Ugh and all that sexy french. Mon dieu!

If I’ve learned anything from Kunle Afolayan, it’ll be the fabulous delight that is a multi-lingual movie. They don’t say variety is the spice of life for nothing, you know.

It’s important to note the classy way product placements were inserted during the film. Driving a Peugeot in the opening scene (Peugeot is one of the official sponsors), flying with Air France (also an official sponsor), nice touch. Even premiering the movie first on an Air France flight was also a sweet move. I love where Nollywood is going business-wise. It’s important that brands take advantage of the movie audience by partnering with movie producers for in-film product placements. Who knows just how many people would patronize Peugeot or fly Air France after “The C.E.O” goes mainstream. *shrugs*

I enjoyed watching “The C.E.O”. For a largely conversation based film, it was surprisingly entertaining. I’d never have thought Nollywood could pull it off. When Hilda Dokubo (who played the police inspector) said, “Seat your nyash down”, I felt myself sink in slightly deeper into my seat. Oh and the sex scene between Kola and Eloise (played by Aurelia Eliam), whoot whoo! He threw those legs in the air! The angle of the shot was good; conservative enough for Nigerian society *insert extreme eye roll*, yet passing the message across. And it was a rather *cough cough* interesting message. I’d give enormous props for believable performances. When great casting, a nice tinge of panache and topnotch cinematography come to play, what a fantastic soiree that could make! But, I hate to say, the movie did lack a certain je ne sais quio. I say that but what I really mean is this; it had a rather disappointing ending.

Kunle Afolayan has shown to have a thing for the darker side of life. You know it’s Kunle when there’s an unexplained murder and a plot twist waiting to happen. Before now, he has managed to clean up nicely, tie all the knots and give us a befitting denouement. Which is why it’s rather surprising that in what was intended to be a career defining moment, we were handed such a weak cessation. I’m always very critical of murder thrillers. To me, if you’re going to kill people, make damn sure you tell us why. If the motive is not convincing enough, it could mess up the entire story. Many guilty people have walked away unpunished because the prosecutor could not whip up a convincing motive. No one wants a murder without a proper, “why”.

It’s difficult to accept that two top company officials were murdered in a C.E.O hunting programme and the course was not discontinued. Ok fine let’s say that happened, at least give us a solid reason behind the murders, not just some feeble tale. Hey, I love an ambitious Chinese business man tale as much as the next guy and I can sincerely see what they tried to do there, but this is what makes a bad film; struggle. If the story does not flow, dead it. Rather a simple clean story than some complicated mess.

Remember when I talked about believable performances? Well, not entirely. Kemi Lala Akindoju is a great actor in her own right. But her performance as Lisa, the mole and murderer, didn’t quite do it for me. Never seen a person wield a knife so comically. I literally laughed out loud at the hand-to-hand tussle between herself and Kola towards the end. Looked like a joke, really. Ah mean, but a wah di rass! ef you’ve deliberately killed two bloodclaat smadi, yuh should know ou to wield a knife. Gwey!

Okay, happy thoughts and positive vibes. It really was a good film. Just wish it cleaned up better.  But hey, I could give it a second watch and see how that works out.

I’d give “The C.E.O”, based on an initial accessment, an E for Effort, a C for (great) Casting, another C for (great) Cinematography…

You know, somewhere down this little singsong, I intended to count down to the last T, spelling E.C.C.E.L.E.N.T but life happens. If you haven’t seen “The C.E.O” you should head down to the cinema and do that. And if you’re going to get a DVD, please do buy a certified copy.

Chioma Nnanna is a writer, video blogger and media pundit. Her work has been published with Aphroden,The Naked Convos, Brittle Paper and various other platform. She is the owner of promising movie blog; www.notinkansasanymore.tv as well as a connecting youtube channel. She loves music and film and is a pretty decent singer. She sometimes sings with a band in Lagos for fun but looks to begin writing music for a living. You'd likely find Chioma at a cinema drowned in popcorn or in a bar downtown sweating it out; or really, just at home in embarrassing clothing.

52 Comments

  1. Odididi

    July 31, 2016 at 5:01 am

    The movie was trash. Wasted my entire two hours or so!

  2. Marvel

    July 31, 2016 at 5:10 am

    Chioma, this is NOT a film review but a ‘simple’ opinion of your night out. Elementary doesn’t cut it.

    • Chioma

      August 1, 2016 at 5:08 pm

      Aww I actually just thought it’ll be fun to write the way I talk.

  3. Mimi0560

    July 31, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Men!!! That movie no make sense at all!!! Wonder why there’s so much hype? Wasted my cash

  4. demashi

    July 31, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Fair review of the movie. I was sorta impressed with the quality but non too pleased with the anti-climax. To be fair to Kunle Afolayan, this cuts above all Nollywood productions if you exclude AM productions such as Hotel Majestic & Hush.

  5. Somebody

    July 31, 2016 at 7:29 am

    The movie didn’t live up to hype. I was disappointed actually. It ended like child’s play considering all the build up to that moment. And then I took 5 people to see the movie cos it’s Kunle Afolayan but it was just not it.

  6. Oluwakemi ibigbami

    July 31, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Very correct review.No need to pack stars if you won’t make the sky pop.Watched late saturday night and was angry .The cinematography and casting was awesome but the script was not it at all .sha don’t use 1500 to watch it .I might be wrong though.Happy week and a great month

  7. Emmanuel

    July 31, 2016 at 7:57 am

    Kunle really messed up with this one. I hope he bounces back…

  8. Undefined beauty

    July 31, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Kunle what happened?

  9. B

    July 31, 2016 at 8:24 am

    The first film I ever saw kemi lala act in was Fifty and she was not even the main act. She won an award with a car this year and I thought this lady must be good. So you can imagine my annoyance when I saw her act horribly in The CEO . Her character in the movie was horrible ,oh boy!!, horrible is an understatement. Even the chinco tried more than her. I guess her character just put me off the movie completely. I have watched all of Afolayan’s movies and this was not up to par
    .
    PS: do not wait for another 3years before you produce another movie so you are not forgotten.

    • Steffy

      July 31, 2016 at 9:26 pm

      Was Kemi in Fifty? what character did she play? Can’t even remember

    • Abby

      August 1, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      She was Ireti Doyle’s house help.

  10. Moyo

    July 31, 2016 at 8:33 am

    Great! I agree with Marvel… It’s opinionated but I swear I love your choice of words. I have watched the C.E.O. and I think Uncle Kunle is setting a new pace for Nollywood. Generally, for me, the movie was excellent.

    😉 The ending part was more like Figurine (suspense on who the killer was)

    • Chioma

      August 1, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Not impressive enough huh? Well, what can I say, formalities tire me.

  11. Derin87

    July 31, 2016 at 8:46 am

    For anyone reading the comments before the actual post, if you have intentions of watching this movie,the review is a spoiler

    • ElessarisElendil

      July 31, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      You’re a God-send. What’s funny is how casually she dropped it, chai Chioma you wicked sha!

    • Kili

      July 31, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      Oh thank you.

    • Chioma

      August 1, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      An honest slip up. I should have added that

  12. Becca

    July 31, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Okay, I think we should get something straight here, like someone had rightfully mentioned, this is not a film review. I understand that maybe the entertainment value was not very present for a lot of people but the the CEO is a very political movie. Its meant to get you to think and draw comparisons with political situations in our society today. In my opinion, the CEO is a movie that that uses one of the simplest things in life, musical chairs, to demonstrate drive, fear and extremities in humans. In many ways, i think the CEO describes a part of us as humans that we refuse to see. Politically speaking, the CEO highlights the African relations with the rest of the world and how the extent of “African agency” in these relations, generally speaking.
    Regarding the acting, so Kemi Lala, no, just no, there is so much room for improvement, however Wale Ojo and the other actors were nothing short of brilliant. The acting was well above average. The same goes for the cinematography as well, although I found some parts a bit too dark for me, but nothing out of the ordinary.
    To be honest, I can’t do the film justice in one comment. That being said, is the CEO Kunle Afolayan’s best film yet- NO. Is it his most politically engaging film yet- YES. Does it deserve more than an E for effort- YES, maybe not an A+ but this is a way above average film.

    • Chioma

      August 1, 2016 at 4:58 pm

      You didn’t even try to spell out ‘eccellent’. Where’s the fun in that pfft

    • Chioma

      August 1, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      Oh and I also did think it was entertaining. But, I don’t know how to say this in nice proper movie review review language but The C. E. O should have fucking cleaned the fuck up better and also it ended like a fucking hot mess. 🙂

  13. Mz_Danielz

    July 31, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I thought Lala was supposed to come across as the slightly deranged plain Jane and for this I think she did good.

    The ending, I’m still trying to understand it sef.

    My favorite line ‘oyibo, you are not my brother’. Love the way the movie kept a good deal of Nigerianness and this line is just an example

  14. Ola

    July 31, 2016 at 11:27 am

    BN, this isn’t a review. Please put “spoiler alert” in the title because this piece has basically revealed the movie and ruined it for those of us who wanted to see it.

  15. lara

    July 31, 2016 at 11:47 am

    A film review of a murder mystery shouldn’t spoil the murderer. Please edit this article.

  16. Somebody

    July 31, 2016 at 11:57 am

    You give credit to Tade Ogidan for impressive dialogue when Tunde Babalola wrote the screenplay?

    • Chioma

      August 1, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Actually “Tade Ogidan” n was a unconscious error for “Kunle Afolayan” . Maybe, like one of the commenters have mentioned, I’m tribalist and can’t tell Yoruba names apart. 🙁

    • waliu

      August 9, 2016 at 3:07 am

      I thought i was the only one who noticed that she gave credit to Tade instead of Tunde.

  17. Nk

    July 31, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    A total waste of precious time and money, Kunle next time try and cast people that will deliver without sentiments attached and with a good story! This was a wasted effort!

  18. Buks!

    July 31, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Was planning to watch it this evening. O well..

  19. truthservedhot

    July 31, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Apart from October 1st, the other two thrillers he has directed ended very badly.

    • nene

      July 31, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      gbam. october 1st was the best but he almost spoiled that one too with a weird story at the end

  20. Debola

    July 31, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Regardless of the not so encouraging comments have seen, I can’t wait to see the CEO

  21. Pelumi

    July 31, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Now a pattern,always to give a tribal rant,hateful mindsets,filled with sadness and ignorance.

  22. Tosin

    July 31, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Still on my to-do list.

  23. Don't mind the negative karachikas

    July 31, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Sponsored negative comments,they are just like that,it’s usually to be negative for some people

  24. Tutu

    July 31, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    The end was terrible. I wonder who Kunle Afolayan’s advisers are. It didn’t make any sense. Spoilt what could have been a great movie. Meanwhile, we need to look into this guy’s life, what’s with him and murders?

    • A.M

      August 2, 2016 at 2:26 am

      I completely agree!

  25. observer

    July 31, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    i wonder what we would have said if a man in describing a beautfiul actress had said “I, and my sperm, were mighty impressed”, just as the reviewer had said ” I, and my ovaries, were mighty impressed” in describing an actor.

  26. Oma

    July 31, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Hahaha, actually sperm isn’t the opposite of ovaries…think deeper or shall i say wider, lol

  27. Bad belle is allowed

    July 31, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Out of the abundance of the heart the comments are writing,don’t mind this agent of sadness,the film is well scripted.

  28. vincent

    July 31, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Still can’t wait to see CEO. Le cinema loading

  29. Yummychickcummummy

    August 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Wow. Just planned on watching the movie over d weekend , mo sorry. Can’t waste my 1,5k n precious time again…. Babe, this ur review is so discouraging, plus d comments here, u no do. . Lol

  30. its_urgirlie

    August 1, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Hmmmmn…a good movie is a good movie irrespective of the story line or how it ends…Kunle Afolayan makes good movies. Not good to rubbish other people’s efforts… Critics everywhere

  31. talk2dele

    August 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    the movie left very bad taste in everyone we saw the movie with!! Very bad precedence for my next Nigerian cinema movie experience

  32. D.

    August 1, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Please ignore comments and reviews and go to the cinema o…I loved the movie!

  33. scarlet

    August 1, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    The CEO is a good movie, might not be the best out there but it definitely won’t be a waste of your 1.5K,i saw the movie 2 weeks ago with no regret whatsoever, even my anti-Nollywood movies husband had no reservations even though i forced him to watch the movie.

  34. Chioma

    August 1, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    If a man said that he’d be disgusting and sexist, of course. Ew

  35. STYLO

    August 2, 2016 at 9:47 am

    from the SPOILER ALERT, it was obvious you didnt come to review na to bad belle. i have no issues with review the good n bad side of a movie, but you should be more objective and open minded. Even oyinbo review will never give an E into the effort of this movie. Ending wasnt to cool and so…….carry biro write your own na.

    I aslo give you an F for sayin TADE OGIDAN wrote the dialogue where as na TUNDE BABALOLA write am. If una like talk say i write english n pidgin together OYO LE WA.

  36. esthel

    August 2, 2016 at 9:50 am

    I saw the movie and i don’t think its as bad as some people here just made it look but with the scripting i don’t think any organization would go on with that kind of training after recording two deaths, not just possible then again kemi lala also didn’t deliver well, seemed like something was propelling her speech.

  37. kemaj

    August 2, 2016 at 11:16 am

    I saw the movie and I did think (and still think) that it is a good movie. Not as horrifying as The Figurine and not as suspense filled as October 1st, but it certainly has its own appeal. Was there suspense? Yes there was cos I had narrowed the killer down to one of Wale ojo or Riikard but why would they be doing it? Those were the questions I think the end answered and not being sure was suspense for me. To think that eventually it was neither of them but a dull looking HR assistant was suspense enough for me. I However, could it have ended better? Likely. But did I enjoy it? OH YES!!!!!! I did.
    If the assertions of Becca to the fact that the film has a political undertone is true then I think on that score Afolayan should have done a better job of promoting that aspect of it so that we can marry the characters to what they represent and can thus appreciate the film better.
    But I had a nice time watching it and will likely be in the cinema to watch again with some friends this week.

  38. Stage

    August 8, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Guys, i would love to appreciate my own so it can grow bigger but honest criticism goes a long way to brew one into fineness. I love October 1st but this particular “CEO” didn’t beat the previous. I guess I expected so much. Correct me if i am wrong, what year is the movie setting suppose to be ? I got confused at some point in the opening scene considering choice of costumes. I got a feel of 1985. Also, anything related to action in that movie was not properly choreographed. It all looked like a joke. I no go lie, in no too sweet me like that. That wan nah me sha, but you might have a different opinion. Try and see the movie and make your own observations. Actually in total truthfulness I was “googling” to see if other people had same feelings and views about the movie and then i eventually arrived at this review. All in all… for a Nigerian director, I think Kunle Afolayan is setting a big positive pace that will in little time achieve greatness than already witnessed.

  39. @curvesandfaces

    August 8, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Well… not so bad but not as anticipated either.

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