Netflix recently rolled out a fresh Yoruba six-part series, Ololade, on November 24th. Produced by Olawale Adetula, Adeleye Fabusoro, Dele Ishola, and Adaugo Uzoma, this series was recently acquired by the streaming giant from TNC Africa.
Penned by Lana Aisida, Ololade delves into the lives of Shina, a dissatisfied high school teacher portrayed by Frank Donga, and Lateef, a brash auto-mechanic played by Femi Adebayo who unexpectedly found themselves rich. It appears almost too good to be true, but their fortunes took a dark turn when they became ensnared in a perilous money laundering scheme.
Under the guidance of director Adeniyi Joseph-Omobulejo, the series boasts an impressive ensemble cast, featuring Mercy Aigbe, Mide Martins, Liz Da-Silva, Jaiye Kuti, Damilola Oni, Frank Donga, Mr. Macaroni, Oluwatobi Olubiyi, Debby Flex, and Anyanwale Olanrewaju, among others.
While the series demonstrated strong character performances, particularly from Femi Adebayo and Frank Donga, who stepped out of his usual comedy role, it suffered from unnecessary length. The narrative could have been condensed into a standalone film with a sequel, and we will still grasp its intended message. Regrettably, the series lingered on superfluous scenes instead of adequately advancing the plot, leaving gaps in key details, such as the operation of Shina and Lateef’s gambling enterprise and the mechanics of the money laundering.
Interestingly, a significant portion of the movie’s focus was dedicated to portraying superfluous scenes in Shina’s household rather than adequately advancing the storyline. For instance, the establishment of Shina and Lateef’s gambling enterprise received attention, yet the series fails to explicitly elaborate on the operational aspects of the business. To exacerbate matters, the narrative takes a turn as they delve into money laundering through the same enterprise, with a conspicuous absence of any mention regarding the specific methods employed in the money laaundering affairs; we are only presented with cash being dropped on their office table.
The performances of the cast were commendable; Femi Adebayo showcased his skillful delivery, and Frank Donga effectively portrayed a character outside his typical roles, warranting appreciation. However, the character Ihotu fell short in meeting expectations. Despite being intended as a formidable thug associated with a resilient underworld cult, her portrayal in the movie lacked the intensity expected, rendering her more akin to a conventional female character in the storyline. Let’s not even talk about the fake pastor scenarios.
The series effectively captures genuine, everyday situations, such as the unfolding drama within Shina’s household stemming from his abrupt affluence. It delves into the complex dynamics between the authoritative Big Mummy and the naive Risi. Shina and Lateef find themselves deeply entangled in the world of money laundering, initially propelled by coercion and later driven by greed, which ultimately reverts to force, the shenanigans of the fake pastor. While these narratives resonate with relatable real-life stories, the film’s prolonged duration nearly transforms watching the movie into a tedious experience. Nevertheless, the inclusion of subtle plot twists plays a crucial role in preventing it from descending into being a total bore.
Despite these shortcomings, Ololade managed to capture real-life scenarios, portraying the repercussions of sudden wealth on Shina’s household dynamics. The series explored themes of greed, forceful entry into money laundering, and the subsequent descent into criminal activities.
The cinematography contributed effectively to the immersive drama, while the chosen locations resonated well with the depicted scenes. Ololade, despite its storytelling flaws, offered a glimpse into human behavior when confronted with sudden affluence or close proximity to those experiencing it. However, the decision to present it as a series with unnecessary fillers is deemed unwarranted.
In conclusion, Kemi Filani rates Ololade 4.8/10, acknowledging its merits in portraying authentic human experiences but critiquing its unnecessary elongation and failure to flesh out crucial narrative details.