Reviewer: Sarah Oyedo
After all aesthetics have been put in place, one cannot over-emphasize the make-or-break effect of story and its telling. It’s for the same reason we sit still in a dark cinema to watch incredibly cliché pictures because well, the story is damn too good.
‘Lara and the Beat’, a film highly anticipated as it carried its weight in stars, sadly, failed to cross the threshold into the hall of great storytelling and therefore, a good movie.
In a display of rich vibrant colors and a sparkling city, Tosin Coker tells the tale of the coming of age of two sisters; Lara (Seyi Shay) and Dara (Somkele Idhalama) Giwa caught in the web of a financial scandal with their late parents’ media empire.
Losing all their assets in a day, the sisters are yanked suddenly from their creamy lives to squat with their former maid, Patience (Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha) in the seedy parts of Lagos. In their new conditions, they must work together to regain their family’s’ legacy. Or so we thought.
After 30 mins or so of following the aforementioned plot that pictured the dramatic Lara stalk her way ungraciously from grace to grass while her sister follows numbly along, we see a sharp veer into a love story between Lara and “the Beat” Salomé (Vector Tha Viper) that didn’t take.
Yet, the film knew its business when it came to cinematography and beautiful locations blended with gorgeous costumes. All glitz and glam, every character in stunning outfits that was more than enthralling. Also, there were some ingenious transitions and great soundtrack as scenes were peppered with jamming pop songs from Seyi Shay and Vector.
If all of this flashy aesthetics were meant to distract from the hurried storytelling and ungrounded characters, afraid to say it didn’t quite work. The director came across as unsure which story to pursue; torn apart family, a love interest, Lara’s music career and interwoven, Dara’s movie project.
The main idea of two sisters finding themselves and together, go on to take on the world was ignored, left to swiveling cameras and fast paced scenes to tell it all. It is also a mystery why Vector was given male lead role especially as his previous appearance in the movie, ‘June’ left much to be desired.
He did much better with the none-speaking parts, but when conversations began, they came out as flat, unconvincing and his eyes were careful of the cameras. Generally, even with the laudable efforts of Seyi Shay, they both failed to arouse interest in their attempt at portraying a love life and all that kissing was for naught.
For a silver line, the cameo appearances of veterans like Shaffy Bello and Wale Ojo helped to lift the listless progression of the plot with their stellar performances which infused some humor that was oh so lacking.
Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha and Lala Akindoju (Tonye) supporting acts, also brought home their roles but Uche Jombo? Not so much. Playing a villain who not only had a rather vague outline for a back story, she came off as unnatural; more of a purring cat than an evil protagonist.
With the last 45 mins a drag, showing a weak crisis and catharsis at the end, this movie, if you ever bother with a ticket, should be taken with a little more than a pinch of salt.
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