The Man for the Job is a Silicon Valley-esque Nollywood film that portrays an uncommon side of the Nigerian tech space, failed dreams, sour friendship and a heist? Despite the story having different possible narratives that make it difficult to point out the overriding one, the story can generally be summarised thus: A struggling former tech wiz Joseph Barnabas (Uzor Arukwe) meets a young female programmer Zina (Temi Otedola) during his side hustle as a ride-hailing taxi driver, he helps her to debug the codes of an app for a fee, before he is caught up in her plot and is set up as the perpetrator of a money siphoning scheme. He has to rely on his wife (Ini Edo) and friend to catch the real criminal and clear his name.
It is always nice to see a Nollywood movie where attention is paid to detail especially in the technical aspects that aid storytelling but in The Man for the Job this endeavour is not extended to the details of the plot and the dynamics of the story, the focus is placed more on portraying the nature of the film. Almost as soon as the film begins, one realises that it is a tech film with correct tech jargons being used, branded t-shirts, well set up workspaces and actual apps being designed for the purpose of the film. These efforts end up being watered down by the shoddy management of the story. The writer-director Niyi Akinmolayan did not have any control on the story and is unable to carve out a great story from the script, the conflict in the story takes too long to be introduced, and rough scene transitions create a lot of confusion as it is hard to distinguish between flashback scenes and scenes in the present day. At the end, one realises that the runtime of 125 minutes should have been considerably less because too many scenes were unnecessarily extended; unimportant scenes like where Esohen (Ini Edo) picks up smoking again and her altercation in the market have no impact on the story and merely slows down the pace of the film, ultimately making it boring to watch at several moments of the crime drama.
One thing to praise in The Man for the Job is the quality of dialogue, but great dialogue is not enough to save an undercooked story. First of all, it is difficult to tell whose story is being told in the film due to a badly arranged main plot that is frequently out of sync with its subplots; implausible plot twists end up making the plot look ridiculous rather than adding excitement. The main plot of The Man for the Job remains inconsistent throughout as too many details are attempted to fit into it, creating a conundrum of conflicts that are not properly resolved which results in a grossly underwhelming ending.
The Man for the Job scores fairly in the technical aspects; the cinematography is at its best throughout and is able to deliver great shots that make it easier to watch, although the choice of music used is great the sound design is found lacking in several instances where they do not fit the mood and sometimes dampen lively acting from individuals like Uzor Arukwe (Blood Covenant), Ali Baba (Gold Statue) and Ini Edo (Chief Daddy 2) make the film interesting. Temi Otedola (Citation), marking her theatrical debut and sophomore performance, seems to be enjoying working with her idols and her efforts prove that there is still room for improvement.
The Man for the Job is a feeble attempt to sail uncharted waters and Nigeria’s tech community will be happy to be represented in Nollywood and also be impressed with the props given to their skills.
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- It is important to tell Nigerian stories in a Nigerian way.
- Nobody on set thought against the use of a stereotypical tribal slur “Ijebu man”.
- The branded t-shirts were distracting.
- Great sex scene.
- What kind of police cell is that?
- Frequent repetition of the title won’t make it fit better.
The Man for the Job is currently in cinemas and will be available on Amazon Prime Video later this year.