The Order of Things is Dr. Sid’s directorial debut. As a fan, his pivot from music was saddening. I mean, the last time he had a release was with The Interesting EP in May of 2020. However, that he is actively delving into filmmaking after a few guest appearances in the film industry including in Moses Inwang’s 2014 film, Last 3 Digits; is a delight. It signals that many would still have a taste of the man’s creative juice.
So, it is with this expectation, I presume, that many approached this film, The Order of Things. It is you wishing that he gets this right while hoping that you have the fortitude to bear the eventuality of this going wrong. Produced by Sid’s Zero Gravity Studios and FilmOne Entertainment; The Order of Things tells the story of Tunde…no…Demilade…no…Tunde. Now, this is the first dilemma the film poses to you. Whose story is being told?The movie’s promotional material says, ‘how far are you willing to go for love?’ It’s a question whose direction the audience is not pointed for the most part. The first few scenes of the film give you, Tunde, the younger lad of the Adesola boys. He’s the prim and proper kind. He’s self assured; functions better with timelines and he seems to be getting it right. He has set 30 as the age for him to get settled. The only crux to this is his brother; Demilade, the seeming social misfit and nerdy gamer.
Both brothers are opposites. Demi is older, coy, introverted, spills drink on his shirt. Tunde is younger, bold, lively and well put together. Not a lot in the film captures the width of their differences as Costume Designer, Kingsley Ojota Rex did. Tunde, played by the bankable Timini Egbuson dons different suits for the most part of the film.Demi played by Obi Maduegbuna is dressed laid back. His introductory scene had him clad in a singlet and boxer. In few scenes, when he has to dress up; including in a dream sequence where he was having an interview with Wazobia Max, his clumsiness still peeps through.
The story shines through in its few opening scenes where it had to be established that Tunde, being younger, cannot get married before his elder brother; Demi. Well, it’s because…you guess right…it is The Order of Things. It then takes a turbulent turn as Tunde has to fix up his brother with a wife just so he can get married to his fiancée, Sophia essayed by Tope Olowoniyan. However, Dr. Sid, Mike Shelton and Ajumoke Nwaeze, who share screenplay credits, did not do enough to capture the urgency of the situation. It felt like the trio created a checklist of scenes to drive the film to its climax; and while staying consistent with its title, checked off each scene, in a particular order.
You’ll get Tunde prompting Demi to, like a gamer, play the game of approaching a lady as if his movement and action is controlled by a pro on a pad. Then, meeting up with Lateef Adedimeji’s character, Larry, who runs a matchmaking business, Dream Date and for the life of me, can’t understand why he has to don what looks like a mis-wrapped turban of the good people of North India’s Rajasthan. When, Timini’s character said; ‘can you take that off?’ I wished Kingsley Rex took him seriously and did yank the turban off Larry. This and the perpetual use of spectacles to depict the nerdy and unsocial traits of both Demi and the eventual love of his life; Tayo, a data analyst; are the let-downs from the unit.With the turban away, Larry would however provide you the biggest chunk of comic breaks that the film offers. Meanwhile, that won’t fully manifest until the 87th minute of the 95-minutes long film. I for one think it’s an inappropriate label to say the film is a romantic comedy as tagged by the makers. On one part, it doesn’t provide enough of it. On the other part, the labored love life of unsocial and nerdy folks didn’t make good material for comedy and this explains why you have to endure the clumsiness of the film’s first half.
The Order of Things picks up its momentum when Demi, after unsuccessful attempts to find a match from Larry’s catalogue meets Tayo. Their meeting is an irony in itself. Tayo is as unsocial as Demi yet they meet in a night club punctuated in its opening by entrancing ladies dancing almost unclad. They met just after Demi’s mother, played by the respected Binta Ayo-Mogaji prayed for him to meet ‘the right woman’. This irony is best captured when Demi announces to his mum that he has met a nice girl in a night club. Ayo Mogaji’s reaction as an African mum is classic.There are certain inconsistencies in Demi’s character arc though. You wonder how a character written to be timid in the first half of the film starts to mouth enticing dialogues to women. You have to watch the scene of his first attempt at asking a lady out. Then, juxtapose with his first few scenes with Tayo. The social awkwardness vanished. Yes, he found love but what happened to his lack of social etiquettes. Dr. Sid wants us to believe that propriety comes with finding love. You won’t know a lot of women who would feel comfy with a man who eats like Demi does in the scene he shared with Lizzy Jay. And the film shows no attempt by Demi to fix these flaws of his.There is also something about Obi Maduegbuna that fails to grasp the soul of Demi’s character beyond the physical appearance. And it’s in the delivery of his dialogues. It appears too choreographed and for an actor that has a background in Theatre and runs a theatrical production firm as a matter of fact; you just want to expect more; especially when you’re sharing screen space with Timini Egbuson.
Well, many things might not be in order in The Order of Things but that doesn’t include its cinematography. Nora Awolowo gave life to each scene of the film with the right framing. In one scene, she captures Demi’s character in an extreme close up shot. It instantly reminds you that Demi is a gamer and reflects the character’s attempt to break loose from the monotony of that world.
You can tell that Dr. Sid attempts to tell a warming story of love and sacrifice but that effort shines through, then goes dim, then shines again; in no particular order. It falters in between. The lead actor’s uninspiring delivery of dialogues and a jumbled screenplay in between the high ends does the disservice. It’s however a worthy watch for the weekend if for you, love wins anyhow. Watch out for the product placements though; you’ll get many of them. The Order of Things is showing in a cinema near you.