Win or Lose, directed by James Amuta, presents an unexpected side of the popular floating settlement of Lagos, Makoko. A story that humanises the inhabitants and shows that despite living under less favourable conditions, they do not escape the human condition as the characters go through relatable experiences. Ikenna (Dave Ogbeni), a keke rider struggling to make ends meet lives in the watery slum. He has frequent run-ins with his landlord (Odunlade Adekola) and his wife (Jessica Henshaw) over his inability to provide. An accident in his keke becomes a life-changing event, it reveals scandalous family secrets and lets him chance upon a winning lottery ticket that turns his life around.
Win or Lose opens with a montage of the deplorable living conditions of the Makoko slums accompanied with a lively pop song. A good way to introduce the film. A comedy flick, Win or Lose does not fail to elicit laughter several times from the audience using witty dialogue and good acting from the cast. Whilst the film succeeds in being funny, it is avast with unnecessary scenes that add nothing to the film; incoherent scene progression dampens the experience as the film goes back and forth with no direction in the earlier parts plus unnecessarily long scenes that would have made their point with less dialogue.
It’s important to make adequate research about the details of a film in order not to pass an incomplete or wrong message to your audience. Nurse Nkechi (Rachael Okonkwo) detects a case of paternity fraud using the child’s blood group, an unreliable method of determining a child’s paternity. They could have easily used genotype instead, which is more reliable. Nurse Nkechi could have been wrong and the plot runs with this premise (although this could have been a potential source of extra comedy).
Some other details of the film could have been better executed, like an accident scene that is shabbily done and would have been better if it were totally removed. Also, the plot brings up several societal issues intentionally and inadvertently which it fails to address sufficiently. Given that it is a comic flick, this should not restrict it from tackling serious issues. Issues like pedophilia, paternity fraud and incest are glossed over with comedy. Whether it’s a funny situation or not, matters like this should not be brushed aside like they could be a norm (regardless of whether that’s a possible reality in that community).
Win or Lose has a feel good story but it suffers from its details not being well handled. The plot becomes overdrawn as it works its way slowly to the main conflict, the winning lottery ticket which is only focused on for a little time out of the 1hr 30min runtime coupled with an underwhelming ending. The film seems to have problems with sound in some scenes where the actors can be seen speaking and gesturing but putting out no sound. The technical issues extend to the cinematography too. It looks like it is executed using an unconventional style but it is not well done as the instability of the camera is too obvious. Added to this are the pointless several drone shots that extend the film unnecessarily. The editing does not help as the switching of frames looks cumbersome (which seems to have come with the difficulty of shooting on water, anyways measures could have been taken to alleviate that).
The all-round performance of the cast is commendable, they seem well-directed most of the time although sometimes the acting does not sync with the mood of the scenario. Odunlade Adekola (Elesin Oba), who shines in the little involvements his character has in the film, and lead actor Dave Ogbeni’s energetic performance are the highlight performances from the cast.
Whilst Win or Lose might have gotten some things wrong and missed good opportunities to address issues brought up by the plot, it features a story that shows a funny and more attractive side of the floating city. It must have been an enjoyable experience for the residents to see a film being shot in their area (even if they might never get to see it) about their possible realities.
Share your thoughts in the comments section or on our social media accounts.
- Catchy song
- What kind of accident is that
- Is the daughter a silent actor?
- Who edited this?
- No one fell in the water, disappointing
- Nigerians 😂
Win or Lose is showing in cinemas.