Dara Ju Movie Review
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Fate or free will? Do we get to choose the path that we follow? Many people believe that we are free to choose our destiny, while others believe that certain things have been decided for us by a higher power. What if there is a third option? What if a broader definition of fate includes subconscious decisions that we make because, due to our inexperience or limited knowledge, we are not aware of reasonable alternative choices. This would imply that we believe we are making a free choice, when, in reality, we are being directed down a path by things outside of our control.
Dara Ju (written and directed by Anthony Onah) tells the story of young man with high ambitions in the world of finance, and the risks he takes to achieve his goals. His modest immigrant upbringing was peppered with family secrets that skewed his view of the world. His drive to excel, forces him down a slippery slope of deceit, drug use and illegal activity. This 90-minute emotional roller coaster showcases Seyi Ogunde (played by Amel Ameen) as he builds a web of secrets, and lies that grow so increasingly complex that he hurts most of the people around him, including his mother Ife Ogunde (played by Michael Hyatt) and girlfriend Liz Sloane (played by Lucy Griffiths). It takes a hard landing at rock bottom for him to realize, albeit far too late, what and who are important in life. In the end, only the closest members of his family are still standing by his side.
This film, based on a 2012 short film by the same name, is an entertaining family drama, supported by a well-developed script and strong cast, that explores many aspects of a young, minority urban professional’s challenges as he tries to succeed in a competitive industry. The pressures in his professional life combined with strained relationships at home, cause him to make some terrible decisions. Initially fate controls his actions, but as the lead character’s awareness increases and figurative shackles are removed, free will makes him a better person.