‘Gone’, the sixth (as at the time of this article) trending movie in Nigeria on Netflix, places Daniel Ademinokan conveniently on a global stage.
The movie, made in collaboration with his media company, Leon Global Media and an American company, Blue Picture Studio, takes place in New York City of the United States of America and Lagos State of Nigeria. It also comprises languages ranging from English, Pidgin, Yoruba, to Spanish.
The Netflix movie features actors of different generations of Nollywood; including Sam Dede, a forerunner Nollywood actor who has acted in over 350 Nollywood films (he plays Animasaun); Gabriel Afoloyan, an actor known for roles in ‘Coming from Insanity’ and ‘Citation’ (Ayo-chukwu); Stella Damasus, a veteran actor (Ngozi); Bimbo Ademoye (Anu); Gbenga Titiloye; Sophie Alakija; Ada Ameh as well as Emma Oh My God.
Daniel Ademinokan’s film portrays Animasaun who goes to New York to pursue his dreams in boxing. He encounters problems of immigration status, which would take him away from his family in Nigeria for over two decades. He returns to Nigeria to pick up the broken pieces of his life and attempts to reconcile with his wife and children.
The movie indeed had a mark of excellence with a lot of breathtaking cinematography. The scenes of New York, of Lagos, and the various relevant and intricate camera angles all added a flair of brilliance to the movie. A scene towards the beginning of the film where Animasaun walks away from a rooftop with the camera trailing after him and eventually focusing on the rooftops and skyline of New York was quite poignant.
‘GONE’ Movie Review
Apart from Cinematography, the actors performed their scenes powerfully and gave memorable moments to their roles. Sam Dede’s apt portrayal of Animasaun gave moments of emotion and frustration concerning his character’s circumstances.
Stella Damasus, who won a Best Actress award for ‘Two Brides and a Baby’, Gabriel Afoloyan and Bimbo Ademoye of ‘Sugar Rush’ all played their characters excellently and adequately displayed the complexity of emotions as well as the aftermath of an absent father. Minor characters such as Gbenga Titiloye, Ada Ameh and Emma Oh My God also gave excellent performances.
Apart from cinematography and performances, the star-studded movie also displayed excellence in its pace and tone. The movie starts with tension and mystery as to the cause of Animasaun’s travails in America. The mystery was well sustained, and the suspense lingered with highly emotional scenes, powerful performances that culminated in a ‘classic climax’ – the past actions of the protagonist catching up with them. The movie carries the viewer along, allowing the emotions to heighten well in the climax before allowing them to ebb at the film’s resolution.
‘Gone’ featured excellent filmmaking points and relevance in portraying the hardships of immigrants in foreign lands. However, it may fall short in making some scenes in the earlier parts of the movie drag a bit too long. And it also fails to give enough exposition into what happened to Sam Dede’s character, Animasaun, in New York. This plot hole was unable to resolve the mystery altogether.
Some special effects also went missing. In the various boxing scenes delivered by Ayochukwu (Gabriel Afoloyan), the faces being punched by the then ‘King of Touts’ were deliberately not shown, perhaps to avoid a case of an unreal punch. However, the punch served by Animsaun upon Ayochukwu in the boxing ring looked as realistic as ever.
In the trend of credit scenes in present-day movies, the scene provided by ‘Gone’s’ credits didn’t seem necessary. The resolution provided by the final scene seemed a relevant outcome. However, the mid-credit scene will leave questions that may be answered in our minds or a sequel.
The movie has been shown at the Calgary black film festival as well as the Canadian film festival. It is a powerful movie from the stable of Daniel Ademinokan.