A film with its central theme on sex trafficking is not one to be taken lightly and it being an EbonyLife film acquired by Netflix as an Original instantly set a standard of excellence.
But 'Òlòtūré', directed by Kenneth Gyang, superficially follows the story of Oloture (Sharon Ooja), the film's eponymous character.
Armoured with no definable background story, Oloture embarks on an investigative journalism story to supposedly uncover a prostitution ring.
As far as the first few scenes reveal, Oloture's prostitute cover appears to have established a pattern from scaling windows, mastering the art of chewing gum and spouting tasteless pidgin.
All that is satisfactory before she gets excited at an all-new discovery - the sex trafficking ring led by Alero(Omoni Oboli), a scarcely intimidating retired sex worker turned pimp.
While Gyang deserves a trophy for finally guiding Ooja to a watchable performance, the story lacks the substance required to sufficiently evoke the pathos necessitated for a film with its subject matter.
A hollow principal character is what 'Òlòtūré' serves. Some of the burning questions are why does she embark on this mission? Why is she so passionate about this story?
As the story progresses to its defining moment-the rape scene, the audience is offered a conflict in no way connected to the film's denouement. Getting raped is at best an occupational hazard. It being at the hands of a politician with a fetish for drugging women can not be a tangible motivation for uncovering a trafficking syndicate.
Certainly, upholders of the noble profession of journalism will cringe at the representations in 'Òlòtūré'. Let us agree for the sake of the story's progression that the trauma of rape prompts Oloture's decision to throw caution to the wind and hijack the story, against her editor's (Blossom Chukwujekwu) orders. It is baffling that an investigative journalist plunges headlong into a project as notoriously dangerous as busting a sex trafficking syndicate without proper security backup.
The story became so obsessed with showing the day to day lives of sex workers that it subjects its predominant theme to an embarrassing game of eeny, meeny, miney, moe with editors-in-chief portrayed as careless and unconcerned about the lives of their reporters.
While telling a writer how to script a story might seem over the top, one as this, of real-life experiences requires detail which 'Òlòtūré' ignores.
Despite the feeling of fundamental disappointment that this picture inspires, it still spots a few smile-worthy moments. Take its score, cinematography, directing and Omowunmi Dada's stellar performance as instances.
Dada's supporting role outshone the film's lead and became the focal point of the story. Adebukola Oladipupo, Beverly Osu, Ikechukwu also delivered effortlessly.
Tragically, 'Òlòtūré' unquestionably aimed for Olympian heights but missed the spot by a long shot. If it flies for some, it is that familiar mediocrity singing beautiful tunes.