Nigerian comedy, Taxi Driver battles James Bond’s Spectre for top spot at cinemas

Nigerian comedy, Taxi Driver battles James Bond’s Spectre for top spot at cinemas

Friday, November 20, 2015 11:22 pm

Comedy: Taxi Driver

Comedy: Taxi Driver

By Funsho Arogundade.

Despite the massive global release of Spectre, the latest installment from the 007 James Bond Franchise, the huge news of the weekend is the very impressive opening of the locally produced Nigerian film, Taxi Driver (Oko Ashewo) which has recorded a remarkable debut across screens in the country.

Figures available at the end of the weekend from the cinemas sources indicate a very close head to head with the much publicised and highly popular James Bond Brand.

According to findings, the weekend figures for Taxi Driver is considered by industry insiders to be the biggest of the year and share similarities with last year’s 30 Days in Atlanta which went on to defeat every Hollywood blockbuster in its way.

Insiders said what bodes well for Taxi Driver are the rave reviews it is getting for both the performances of the acting talent and the picture itself fuelling huge optimism that the lull indigenous films have witnessed in 2015 so far has come to an end.

Taxi Driver (Oko Ashewo) is a hilarious dark comedy drama about working in Lagos at night, as a taxi driver. The lead character, Adigun, played by AMVCA winner, Femi Jacobs, is a 31-year-old naive village mechanic coming to Lagos for the first time. His decision comes following the sudden death of his father, a man he never truly knew, yet a man very popular in his village as the iconic Lagos taxi driver ‘Oko Ashewo’.

However, Adigun’s coming to Lagos is on the invitation of Taiwo, his father’s fellow taxi driver, played by popular Yoruba actor, Odunlade Adekola.

But Taiwo is dangerous and as shady as Lagos at night. Taxi Driver tells the story of how Adigun copes with dealing with the multitude of odd characters he comes across working at night from Delia (Ijeoma Grace Agu) the queen prostitute, to Kakanfo (Hafiz Oyetoro) the unseen vigilante, the notorious assassins ‘three wise men’, to the Godfather, Baba Mistura and many more interesting characters that ply their trade in Lagos at night. A strong contender as one of the most beautifully shot film ever to have come out of Nigeria.

This dark comedy story brings a rich mixed bag of emotions from love to greed to betrayal, shenanigans, contradictions and self-discovery.

The movie is directed by Daniel Emeke Oriahi. He said: ‘Taxi Driver is a personal journal of my admiration for Lagos Island and its popular streets, from Igbosere road to Broad street, CMS, Obalende and vibrancy of its people. I relied on my experiences as a foreigner to Lagos to influence my approach in telling this story of a man’s journey in search of purpose. As fate would have it, the taxi became a metaphoric embodiment of Lagos and its passengers at night which Adigun, the main character of the movie, had to experience to discover his purpose. My hope is for audiences to feel the spirit of Eko through Adigun’s vintage 1979 Peugeot 504 taxi which has a prominent Eyo emblem on its bonnet and is nicknamed Tom Kruiz”.

The movie taps into the premise of being centred around the hustle and bustle of Lagos, delves into the action movie territory complete with the action and suspense that sets it apart from all other Nollywood films of 2015.

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