Head Gone: A Review


Hello folks, hope you are having a nice weekend. i must apologize in advance  that in spite of my efforts to keep it short,my post today is rather longer than some of the ones I have done lately. It is a review of  Dare “Baba Dee” Fasasi’s Comedy Head Gone, which I watched yesterday. It is also the first movie review to be done on adebayoadegbite.com. I hope you enjoy it, and I would love to get your thoughts on the review and the movie itself.

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Date of Release: 22nd November 2014
Director: Dare Fasasi
Length: 110 minutes

Yesterday, I became one of the first people to watch the Ibadan Premiere of Dare Fasasi’s groundbreaking comedy Head Gone in Ibadan. In a way it could be said that for those of us who watched it in Ibadan, we were the lucky ones who got to welcome the movie home. The movie was shot in Ibadan, with most of the scenes being shot around the University of Ibadan and its environs. Perhaps then it is obligatory that I feel an attachment to the movie, as some of the scenes were shot in some of my favourite haunts, I remember in particular the scene in the canteen, that  the driver and his assistant sneak to, when the bus breaks down, with a sense of nostalgia, as the same canteen which me and my classmates dubbed the “cemetery place” by virtue of it being behind the Chapel of Resurrection and thus being close to the Chapel’s cemetery (insert obligatory mysterious food disappearance joke here), where many morsels of Amala were downed with the customary ponmo or goat meat. So in a way Head Gone was a movie I could relate with. It was almost as if it was been shot right in my presence, of course it didn’t also help that the beautiful lady I happened to sit beside in the screening room, happened to have friends in the production and post production (But she was a nice lady and didn’t spoil the movie for me), but I won’t digress here.

Head Gone is centred on a busload of patients being conveyed to a mental institution, who find their paths crossing with unsuspecting ‘sane’ people, when their bus breaks down, and the hilarious hijinks that follow. The movie is proof of the mantra that “it doesn’t have to be exotic and expensive to be good.” The movie was low budget, but that did not in any way affect its production quality, the sound was good, and the camera was not too bad either, (of course I must deign here to the specialists in lightning, camera and acoustics, given that I am a novice in those matters). But the strength of the movie was in the characters. Kudos must go to Baba Dee for assembling some of the best comedians in the entertainment industry. The all star cast, which featured the likes of ‘2Face’ Idibia, Basketmouth, Akpororo, Ali Baba, Peter Fatomilola, Zach Orji, Ik Osakioduwa, Yomi Obileye, Tunde Obalana, Eniola Badmus, Hafeez “Saka” Oyetoro, amongst others, were on their turf and therefore were in their element from start to finish, not only that, they brought their non comedian comrades beautifully into the act which made it a master class in comedy. One cannot but agree with the assessment of the Leadership newspaper of December 12 2014, that it is “truly outstanding piece of work that is fresh, original, technically accomplished and most of all gloriously funny.”

More than the acting and the comedy, an observant viewer should not miss the satire, the movie being set in Nigeria, it is believed that the way society is in Nigeria, where incompetence and corruption is the “normal” thing, a Nigeria where nothing works; there is actually a very thin line between “madness” and “sanity”. And the sight of Sergeant Robo, the madman who steals a police uniform and then mounts a road block (incidentally he is revealed as a policeman who was hit with a charm that made him run mad by a pensioner whom he had been demanding a bribe from) is a direct shot at the Nigerian Police Force, the police roadblock being an eternal symbol of frustration and exploitation that every Nigerian can relate with. And then the dig at doctors, whom in spite of the five,(in some cases six) figure salaries that they earn are about as clueless on these issues as the rest of us, and then the beware of all of ‘em sexy girls joke, but I won’t get started on that.

As I have noted before, the characters were in their element and the comedy is superb.  Hafeez “Saka” Oyetoro was particularly outstanding. He totally owned his role as a madman who is wrongfully arrested as a convict. Apart from him and a few others, I think the non-comedians just about edge the comedians, in terms of being funny.  I felt Segun Adefila who plays the Student activist with dreadlocks, was superb; he handled his role with natural flair and style. IK Osakioduwa, who played Doctor Adis, a doctor who mistakes a mad professor, for an expert Neurosurgeon, also provided a barrel of laughs.  Ali Baba was well, Ali Baba. The unnamed madman with his cockroach companions was also a pleasant side attraction.  The two Chinese men, those guys looked right at home.  On the other hand, I felt Akpororo struggled with the transition from Stand up comedy to movie comedy. His overacting was grossly comical even for a comedy, and there is this feeling that he did not use a script but simply did his own thing (which works well in stand-up by tend to fail in movie comedy), the evidence being his lines being full of redundancies. Then as for Basketmouth, back in the days he was still hustling, he would have fitted his character well, but this fresh looking rosy cheeked Basketmouth looks out of place, the character looked forced, no soul at all.  I expected more from Zach Orji, he didn’t quite put the required pep into his character. The less said about 2Face, the better, it seemed Baba Dee just wanted to use his name to sell the movie, the cameo was too short and even 2Baba’s acting skills were minimal at best, it would not be an acting debut 2face will remember with pride, but I would blame that on the producer. Abeg Baba Dee you no try at all o. Na 2Baba we come see na?  You for give am role wey better small pass that one wey you give am now, Why you come dey rubbish our chairman like that? No try am again o. Sound Sultan was like that 89th minute sub the coach brings in other to protect the result/waste time, so no comment about him.

Finally I would like to point out that the movie looks rather like a collection of skits rather than a movie, as a result we had a lot of characters and plot points abruptly cut off. it is the difference between the short story and the novel, we all know that lack of space tends to make short story characters relatively flat, but in a longer length work, characters are meant to be more rounded, that didn’t happen in Head Gone. This is not totally the producer’s fault as comics are often stock characters at best, but a movie which consists entirely of stock characters will not likely be enjoyable for too long. I feel the producer must take the blame for treating the movie like a Marvel Universe movie, too many characters and too little for them to do. One could argue that this is part of what caused the problem of the characters I mentioned earlier. It seems Baba Dee was more concerned about showcasing stars than producing a movie and it makes the movie extremely patchy to say the least.

That said, Head Gone is a movie everyone would love, both youth and adult. It is suitable for general viewing. There is little or no nudity, gratuitous or otherwise.  There is also no overt violence, though some of the humour may pass over the heads of young children. You should all find time to watch it. 

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