Steeped into the very core of the widespread paranoia that came with the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Lockdown The Movie tries its best to navigate issues revolving around the local and the universal. The first movie from the stables of Haze Pictures, this short film portrays, among other things, public negligence and widespread insecurity that came before, during and after the weeks-long stay-at-home directive of the Nigerian government. The film begins with Shola (played by Ojo Olamide Enoch) who returns home after going to a grocery store. He is attacked by Acapella (his former driver) and the crux of the storyline is acted on this hostage situation. The opening of the movie drags, even with an upbeat original soundtrack serving as underlay, it plays for too long and becomes tiresome. Thereon, the film pulls us into a not-so-interesting, emotionally bland conversation between the protagonist and antagonist—the boss and the employee. The attacker who is trying to make ends meet ramble about the short comings of the boss who has violated health rules by going out without a nosemask. Here the ambusher acts as the voice of the central message the filmmakers hoped to convey.
The acting and dialogue in the film is what might or might not sustain your interest: the main actor displays forced pathos and it generally underwhelms. It becomes hard to fix the film within a direction as it vacillates between the comedic, melodramatic and horrific. But what the film loses in its less than impressive acting, it struggles to recover in the message. It opens up multifarious wounds nagging the Nigerian system as the health crisis spread from state to state: the fact that most illiterates do not believe in the existence of the virus; the elites who are nonchalant about the use masks; the perennial presence of hunger in an agriculturally-rich country; and the state of decay of the health sector.
For the most part, you will likely forgive the filmmakers for using relatively young actors who portray older characters, and whose depictions seem unbelievable and sometimes mortifying, and focus on the effort put into the direction and plot of the film which engages the contrast between information overload and information depletion. Lockdown The Movie is not a perfect short film, not in the least, but the fact that it was shot during the height of the pandemic is commendable. You can decide to proceed to watching it; but as you do, do not expect a wallop.