The initial scenes of “Coming from Insanity” will get you excited. From then onward, two things could happen. You could just sit back and go with the flow, or you could be disappointed that the “Kossi” character was not well developed.
After playing the lead in “Gold Statue” which was released barely two months ago, Gabriel Afoloyan plays the protagonist Kossi in “Coming from Insanity.”
“Coming from Insanity” is a crime drama that explores human trafficking in relation to child labour and its socially and morally harmful effects. Despite the hullabaloo about the movie, the filmmaker failed to sufficiently exploit the very important themes upon which the plot is based.
The film begins in 1995 at the Nigeria-Togo (Seme) border. A driver is trying to smuggle children into Nigeria to work as domestic helps. Kossi is just 12 years old when he is dropped-off at the Martins’s residence.
The Martins are a middle class family who live in Lagos. Wale Ojo and Dakore Akande play Mr and Mrs Martins. While Damilola Adegbite and Wole Ojo play their children Oyin and Femi.
Femi is bully. But Oyin does not consider Kossi a help. As such, Oyin and Kossi form a strong bond. The closeness between Oyin and Kossi would wax stronger into adulthood. There is no indication of how much time passed. But one can deduce that it was about two decades. The elderly Martins retire to their country home. Still, Kossi remains a domestic staff to their children.
As for Oyin and Femi, their characters haven’t changed. Oyin is still kind and considerate, while Femi is a rude and now irresponsible man who is taken to alcohol and women. After a highly disrespectful encounter, the now grown-up Kossi decides that he needs to make money to earn respect.
Kossi would achieve his goal by getting into some shady business. Hence, he begins to research the art of counterfeiting the United States dollars. And starts to print counterfeits. But it takes a while before he perfects his craft.
By sheer coincidence, shortly after Kossi perfects his counterfeit, Mr and Mrs Martins decide that it is time to free him. And let him return to his home country. So, they send him off with a plane ticket and some cash – that really amounts to nothing. But that is not what upsets Kossi. It is having nothing to go back to in Gbangbale, Togo. To him, Nigeria is now home. And Oyin is his family.
Since he does not want to return to Togo. There’s only one thing to do. Kossi enlists the help of some his friends. They begin to print the counterfeits in substantial quantities. And Kossi starts trading with black market operator, Abubakar (Sanni Danja). Business booms until the fake dollar bills make their way into the banking system and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) try to track down the source.
As stated earlier, the premise of this film is an important one. We know that Kossi can use a computer but nothing points to whether he had an education. However, one can tell that he hadn’t had it easy living with the Martins. Because of Kossi’s shallow backstory, the director, Akinyemi Sebastian Akinropo, missed an opportunity to enrich his film and draw attention to what might have been a violation of the Child Rights Act. Instead, he chose to give prominence to Kossi’s criminality, thereby losing the essence of the film.
The other thing that went wrong in “Coming from Insanity,” is sound. The early scenes set the context for the film. But it was difficult to make out what the actors were saying. Perhaps an overdubbing problem.
And as if it was not bad enough that a 40-year old Akande was cast as Oyin and Femi’s mother – bearing in mind that Adegbite and Ojo are both in their mid-thirties – Mrs Martin did not age a day.
The film also stars Udoka Oyeka, Bolanle Ninalowo, Sharon Ooja, Odunlade Adekola, Tina Mba, and Sambasa Nzeribe. Afolayan is a strong lead. His imitation of the Togolese accent is consistent. However, we’ll leave the Togolese to determine if it is passable. In general, the cast do a decent job. However, the attempt to portray detective Toye (Oyeka) as emotionally unstable was disappointing. And lest we forget, can N365 million fit into only one large-size Ghana-must-go bag?
Regardless, “Coming from Insanity” gets a pass mark for the use of props and locations. The beaches were pristine. The party at the beach house was spot on. And the video game as well as Mrs Martins’s ’90s hairdo are very reminiscent of the time.
Directed by: Akinyemi Sebastian Akinropo
Image credit: YouTube/ The Movement Pro. Pictures