Director: Destiny Ekaragha
Writer: Bola Agbaje
Starring: Malachi Kirby, O.C. Okeje, Shanika Warren-Markland
Runtime: 86 min
Chosen to play at TIFF’s popular Next Wave Film Festival, it is no wonder why Gone Too Far! garnered the attention of the programmers of the event. Based on the celebrated play by Bola Agbaje, the film has tremendous power to influence teenagers and adults alike, and it brings out important issues of race and identification that resonate with diverse audiences. With an ensemble that works together in perfect harmony, Gone Too Far! is a film that definitely puts director Destiny Ekaragha on the list of creators to look out for in the coming years.
Yemi (Malachi Kirby) is a teenager whose greatest concerns in life are soccer and getting together with Armani (Shanika Warren-Markland), a girl with whom he is greatly infatuated. When his mother announces that his older brother Iku (O.C. Okeje) is coming home from Nigeria, Yemi’s world is turned upside down. Never having met his brother, he is hesitant to accept this new member into his house. With the arrival of Iku, Yemi has to confront his roots and ancestry, all while trying to avoid Razer (Tosin Cole), who has been informed of his intentions with Armani. Set in a British estate, which is the Canadian equivalent of the projects, the film is an exploration of youth, and the eternal search for identity.
Most of the talented cast in Gone Too Far! have not had long careers, but their performance in the film prove them to be a powerhouse ensemble. Malachi Kirby makes the perfect Yemi, a confused youth who is simply trying to get by. O.C. Okeje is an up-and-coming star of Nigeria’s Nollywood, and his performance as Iku is as endearing as it is insightful. As revealed by the director, there was little room for improvisation from the actors, and about 95% of the script is faithful to the actual dialogue in the film. Despite most of the actors being relative newcomers, their ability to turn the script into completely natural lines gives the film immense power, and the part of the film that addresses identity is greatly highlighted thanks to the ability of its actors to deliver diverse slang with seamless effort.
For such a simple film, the cinematography was excellent. Vibrant colours, exciting camerawork, and great use of space gives the film qualities that make it easy to enjoy visually. Musically, the film uses dynamic rap music that ties in well with the entirety of the work, and gives the film occasional good beats to tap your toes to. The music and cinematography, accompanied by the good looks of virtually everyone in the cast, make it an experience that can be thoroughly enjoyed with all the senses.
The excitement this film leaves with the spectator is only matched by the energy of its director, who clearly sought to create a work of art with which she could identify. Despite the film being an adaptation of a play, the influence and creative genius of Ekaragha can be seen all throughout the duration of the work. After finally completing her first feature film, she is now awaiting the release of her film in the UK, and plans to shoot a new project in Nigeria.