I have seen many great Hollywood crime thrillers, from De Niro’s Heat (1995), Affleck’s The Town (2010), to Hardy’s Lawless (2012), and many other clever entertaining movies of this genre. A Nollywood crime thriller from the recent past is Kayode Kasum’s Dwindle, a comedy crime thriller that was satisfactory but cunningly hid its flaws under a comical façade. Hide ‘N’ Seek should have taken the same route instead of following the 007-esque direction.
Directed by Tolu “LORDTANNER” Awobiyi and Adekunle-Bryan Oyetunde, the 1hr 48min movie involves a party of individuals who plan to steal embezzled public funds from a corrupt politician, Dr. Arzika (Sani Muazu). Helming the lead role is Kunle Remi, who plays James, a security intelligence officer assigned to protect the politician’s shady business, the same man who cahoots with some people to steal back what has already been stolen. However, due to contingencies like an obsessive girlfriend (Uche Montana), a snitch and some people with hidden agenda(s), the plan is bound to fail unless ‘007’ James makes the right chess move.
The plan for Hide ‘N Seek was to make an intriguing movie with a convoluted plot, one that makes viewers hooked like Knives Out, a bold move but unfortunately the movie’s downfall. It merely causes confusion for itself in an attempt to set itself apart from other Nollywood movies of its genre. A perfect execution of the heist would have made the movie impeccable, in other words, to achieve this, directing must be close to perfection. However, the directing is subpar; director(s) who know what they want to do, daylight robbery hued with mystery, but couldn’t take it up a notch. From the beginning of the movie, the tenacity is conveyed and the directors don’t hold back, however, this only seems to murder the capacity of the movie to offer real depth. Another setback in the movie is its obsession with chess pieces. During the process of the heist planning, they move the chess pieces around so much that it implies they are preparing themselves for the greatest heist in history, which falls short of expectation. In Hide ‘N Seek, events unfold at the characters’ convenience, and everything falls in place too often by chance.
Further problems plague the movie. The dialogues are mundane and carry little weight to convey the intensity that drives the movie. As the plot unfolds, man’s greed and his slavery to money are two key elements garnished in the plot to intrigue viewers and retain the tension. An element that fits in perfectly with the words of Naira Marley, which is shown at the end of the movie–– “gboogbo wa lole”. The movie’s plot is one big knot that refuses to free itself as it throws in scenes that are vague or in a nutshell, a crude approach to the exciting genre it aims to explore. When compared to notable crime thrillers, the directing of Hide ‘N’ Seek doesn’t hit the mark, could be praised as a fair attempt but nonetheless births an average crime thriller.
The character of Dr. Arzika, the corrupt politician, aligns with how politicians in Nigeria treat their citizens. This evil man would rather let thousands of people suffer to fulfill his desires; he laments and vehemently concedes that it is an impossible project for the government to provide ventilators in all hospitals while he has millions of dollars of embezzled public funds at his disposal—a decision that later comes back to haunt him. This is a mirrored situation of events that happened during the lockdown; many politicians got to have a taste of the ruins they left behind. With nowhere to go, their hope remains in a sector they barely elevate. Sani Muazu’s performance as the corrupt politician as well as Kunle Remi’s as his nemesis are laudable efforts that help to veer the movie off its meandering path. Plans have been made, the stage is set, but the grand event that ought to be the climax of the movie is shoddily shot–– an appalling shootout scene, but since the desired result is met, it really doesn’t matter.
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- One norm this movie breaks, which is common in Nollywood, is the idea of always having a happy ending.
- Is it a coincidence that this movie came out the same day as No Time To Die, names it male lead James and he tries to pull off a ‘007’ vibe? Well, I doubt it is a coincidence or maybe I am just reading too much into it.
Hide N Seek is currently in cinemas.