Ever since Banana Island Ghost was screened in cinemas in 2017, there was this lust I suddenly developed for Biola Alabi’s movies and I found myself salivating when news broke that Lara and The Beat was in the works. And after watching the latest movie from BAM, I have come to expect nothing short of greatness from anything Biola invests her time, effort and money into.
Lara and The Beat is an out-of-the-ordinary kind of movie. It is like a crossbreed between a musical, drama, and romance to bring about roughly two hours of screen time that isn’t in line with the regular and now extremely annoying/boring “romantic comedy” movies that have flooded the streets of Nollywood.
Seyi Shay’s acting was the major surprise package that Lara and The Beat had to offer. She acted her roles so perfectly, you’d think the “Right Now” crooner was a veteran that’s been in the industry for decades, when in actual fact, this is her debut role. Also, there was something entrancing about her performance that makes one expect an AMVCA nod in the nearest future. Vector Tha Viper’s acting, on the other hand, was somewhat lacking the professionalism his scenes required. During the first few scenes of the movie, his head was bent and turned away from the camera which led me to believe that he was either too shy for movie camera (since he’s not new to showing his face in music videos) or it was a not-so-good portrayal of the role he was given.
Some recast members from Banana Island Ghost like Saidi Balogun and Bimbo Manuel did amazing justice to their roles, while the veterans – Chioma Akpotha, Chinedu Ikedieze, and Uche Jombo showed the newcomers the kind of experience required to reach the top.
Even though the movie was more of drama with a hint of romance, there were scenes that would have you laughing till your ribs cracked, and the hint of suspense (more of a would they/won’t they) was like the cherry on top of the ice cream.
The storyline was the real problem with the movie because there didn’t seem to be a definitive pace to it. Barely 10 minutes into the movie, so much had happened, it was like they crammed a full 50-minutes worth of scenes into it. After that, the movie settled into the expected pace – which was great,- but it didn’t last as all through the movie there was a constant rollercoaster of mixed and out-of-paced storylines, many things that didn’t add up, and a lot of unexplained and unfinished business. Plus there were lots of characters who were more of cameos and didn’t add any substance whatsoever to the movie.
At the end of the movie, there was the idea left in our minds that only Lara found her beat (excuse the pun), probably because the movie was actually supposed to be about her and the other subplots were more of tie-ins until the next scene involving Seyi Shay and Vector. Most of the other characters were left at the very same position they had started the movie at.
Regardless, the movie is quite an enjoyable one (for me to hold my pee until the end, it definitely says a lot), and it’s the kind of Nollywood movie – with more refining and fine tuning,- that is truly worth going to the cinemas to watch.
Score – 7/10
Lara and The Beat is currently showing in cinemas nationwide.