Dinner is a 2016 movie written and directed by Jay Franklyn Jituboh (The Origin: Madam Koi-Koi). It stars Okey Uzoeshi, Keira Hewatch, Eyinma Nwigwe, Deyemi Okanlawon, and Kehinde Bankole as its principal characters. Making special appearances are Richard Mofe Damijo and Ireti Doyle. It is a small-cast film that plays on the energy around what happens when you put a small number of people in a room and dial up the emotional chaos.
Ade (Enyinma Nwigwe) invites his childhood friend, Mike (Okey Uzoeshi), for dinner with his fiancee, Lola (Kehinde Bankole). Mike comes along with his reluctant fiancee, Diane (Keira Hewatch). Ade also invites his troublesome friend, Richie (Deyemi Okanlawon), much to his fiancee’s displeasure. Things begin to go awry at the gathering when pressured by Richie, they discover secrets about each other’s relationships.
Dinner is really about the management of chaos, and to some degree, the writer/director handles the crux of it well. But at the peripherals, when you really think about it, things unravel a little bit. But this does not preclude praise of the general look of the film. It is a decently composed film visually. And occasionally, the score matches the look. However, there is a plausibility problem with the film.
Ade and Mike are childhood friends and they have a very cordial relationship. And while Richie isn’t great friends with Mike, he is quite close with Ade. After they all arrive for the dinner, and they settle, Richie suddenly begins to text Diane at the table. Ade, the groom-to-be, had slept with her sometime ago, and so had Richie. While Richie’s is understandable, Ade’s surprise at Diane’s presence is curious.
One finds it difficult to believe Mike didn’t, at any point, send Diane’s photo to Ade in the one year they’d been together before that night. And there is the sense that the entire chaos between Mike and Diane, especially concerning Richie, could have been avoided if she’d brought him into the room and explained everything to him before the night began. She did not cheat on him; there was absolutely no reason to keep that secret. It felt necessary to do so only for the plot’s convenience.
When you realise that these people are to get married, and they have not shared intimate secrets like this with themselves, it makes you question the quality of their unions and the potential longevity even after the conflicts have been resolved. While we agree that Richie is a troubled, morally bankrupt character, Ade’s double standards are a tad jarring. The film does well to point out that we as a society hold our women to a much higher moral standard than we do our men. Perhaps it would have been better to find a way to depict that in the film than have Adetunde George Snr (Richard Mofe Damijo) come to tell it to us in proper deus ex machina fashion.
Dinner is a decent film that does well to show the one million things that could go wrong between couples. Its pessimistic core explodes across the film through Richie, but there is such little time to rectify that pessimistic stance properly, that is, show what a healthy, non-secretive, functional relationship looks like without external input from parents. The film works fine as a breezy watch and a decent, technically sound experience. One should watch it as that.
Dinner debuted on Netflix on January 24, 2024.
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- The deus ex machina ending is questionable. The film ties itself into a moral knot through the couple, and it should have unravelled it through them.