Title of Movie: Charge and Bail
Release Date: October 21, 2021
Running time: 95 minutes
Director: Uyoyou Adia
Cast: Zainab Balogun, Stan Eze, Folu Storms, Femi Adebayo, Bimbo Manuel, Tope Olowoniyan, Elozonam Ogbolu, Eso Dike, Chigul and Craze Clown, and Others.
The movie tells the story of a rich, young, foreign-trained lawyer, Boma, -played by Zainab Balogun, who gets posted to a “charge and bail” law firm during her national youth service and her struggles to fit in with the people; the courts, and the average Nigerian life.
It’s a light-hearted yet realistic movie about finding yourself in places you feel you don’t belong to or beneath you and yet it grows on you and becomes the place you don’t want to be without.
The producers – Inkblot Productions and Film One Entertainment- are responsible for popular films such as ‘The Wedding Party’ franchise, ‘Quam’s Money’, ‘Who’s The Boss’, among other fantastic movies.
Charge And Bail movie is written by Chinaza Onuzo and directed by Uyoyou Adia, the writer of ‘The Sessions’ and ‘Nneka The Pretty Serpent’, making her theatrical directorial debut.
‘Charge and Bail’ is centred around a UK-trained lawyer, Boma Ossai, in her early 20s, who comes back home with dreams of joining her father’s law firm, Ossai, and Co, which happens to be one of the best in the country but specialises majorly in corporate law.
She comes back with a close friend of hers, Zainab, who is playing to practise ‘Technology Law’ in her father’s firm. However, she had to do her NYSC first before starting and that is where the story gets interesting.
Coincidentally, she was posted to a charge and bail law firm which is her father’s former friend’s firm, Wole, who has not been on good terms with her dad for a long time over a relationship issue involving a love triangle between Mr Ossai, Mrs Ossai, and Mr Wole himself.
When she got to the firm, she wanted them to reject her. Unfortunately for her, they didn’t but told her they needed all the hands they could get to keep the law firm going.
Due to her arrogant and egotistical nature, she goes through a lot of challenges along the way but finally, she learned how to take orders from her seniors.
She is soon able to mingle with people below her class, learn how to accommodate others, make new friends, and let down her guard once in a while.
The movie was overall a very interesting one. There were lots of humour and captured most realistically. It also revealed the battles between larger and smaller law firms as well as the everyday life of ambitious lawyers hustling for clients around prison and court premises.
Quite funny but it is the reality of most Nigerian lawyers tagged ‘charge and bail’ which perhaps explains the title of the movie. For this set of lawyers, it is the survival of the fittest not minding whether the ethics of the profession are thrown out of the window or not
But then, I seriously feel like the movie was a bit too rushed and the casting wasn’t properly done.
For instance, the two jolly lawyers who always hung around the courthouse didn’t quite fit the bill.
The viewer would most likely need more information about them and why they were introduced in the movie in the first place. They may also want to know how Zainab managed to convince them to finally join her at the end. This is one of the many noticeable lapses in the film.
A major likely question might be: ‘‘What did she say to those people at the courthouse who made them sign up with her during her NYSC days?”
They didn’t show that part, only skipped to them forming a long queue to sign up. That is one of the flaws in the movie.
A major rule in filmmaking is ‘show’ or ‘tell’. But this is not the case in most parts of this film. The director neither told us nor showed us what transpired between her father and his friend that made them gang up against her in court.
The court proceedings were too short and not up to par so the viewer doesn’t get that the feel of a proper court proceeding.
It felt as though the judges were too familiar with the lawyers and gave their verdict based on their personal relationship with them. Is this really a true reflection of the Nigerian judicial system? While it may be a possibility in real life, perhaps a little more research and consulting with a real lawyer would have helped tighten these loose ends.
They didn’t show that part, only skipped to them forming a long queue to sign up. That’s part of the demerits of the movie
Moreso, none of Boma’s other siblings was shown even though they were mentioned a few times in the movie. What happened to them?
I loved the attention to detail in some scenes and the fact that the scenes were shot in real courthouses and actual prison cells. The movie also shows the struggles and extent to which people go to get justice for their loved ones as well as how lawyers compete among themselves to get clients.
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