Movie Review: ‘The Delivery Boy’ conveys the right messages with little time
Amir (Jamaal Ibrahim) looks at Nkem with conviction and without fear or hesitancy as he shows her a map, and asks if she knows the directions to a certain location. It was a moment of fearlessness from a kid who’s been trained in the ways of audacity and is now bent on going against those who set him on a destructive life part. And this is one of the good things from Adekunle Adejuyigbe’s ‘The Delivery Boy’, selling us a character that genuinely stands out.
Most Nollywood films hardly seem to focus on that. However the quality of a movie is, we hardly ever get a character that stands out, even if the story centres on him or her. In the case of The Delivery Boy, this is different; maybe because the movie runs on a much shorter length than most, or doesn’t have a wide range of characters.
The Delivery Boy centres on Amir, a boy who’s trained to be a suicide bomber by a terrorist group whose ideals centre on religious extremism, but eventually turns away and decides not to go down that part. Amir steals plans by the organisation to bomb a hospital, as well as the tools to carry out the act. On the run, after killing a member of that terrorist group, Amir ends up in a tricycle, at wee hours, with Nkem (Jemima Osunde), a prostitute. Nkem is in this profession to raise enough money for her brother, who’s in the hospital.
Jemima Osunde as ‘Nkem’
The Delivery Boy manages, in just about an hour, to give us many good things to see and dissect, and highlights issues in this country. We see opportunism when Nkem finds out that the kind of person Amir is, but doesn’t care, so long as she gets rewarded for giving him directions. Then Nkem finds out that the hospital that Amir is sent to bomb is the one in which her brother currently unconsciously resides, and starts to care, highlighting selfishness and self-interest.
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We see hypocrisy, like Amir, a suicide bomber, slams Nkem for being a prostitute, accusing her of knowing nothing about virtue, or the actions of Mallam Sadan, head of the terrorist organisation Amir was with. We see the strife children go through; Nkem’s brother only ended up in the hospital because he walked on her and their uncle being physically intimate and confronted said uncle. Apparently, their uncle has been sexually abusing Nkem since she was 8, and the one time she refused to sleep with him, her face felt the force of a pressing iron.
We also see the hardship children go through in Amir’s story. Actually born Joseph, Amir was given by an orphanage to a Mallam Sadan, who sexually abused him, gave him a new name and religion, and sent him to Jihad camp to ‘learn how to be a man’. Upon leaving Sadan’s terrorist group, Amir returns to the orphanage, where he learns that Sister Dorcas, head of the orphanage, knows of Sadan’s operation and that he sponsors the orphanage in exchange for getting boys for his operation.
When he first met Mallam Sadan, Amir was told he was special, before Sadan sexually abused him. Then, at the Jihad camp, Amir meets Malik, who tells him Sadan did the same with him. But Amir reports Malik to the others for supposedly telling lies against their leader, which leads to his only friend getting stoned to death. Listening to Amir tell that story, it’s clear his motives where jealousy (as he said). This is a boy who was told he was special and different, who feels betrayed at finding out it wasn’t the case, finding out that someone was treated and told the same. The Delivery Boy also touches on corruption, where, having been confronted by Nkem to go to the police and report Sadan’s operation, Amir replies that Sadan’s operation is sponsored by people in high places.
But its societal messages aren’t the only things that make The Delivery Boy worth a watch. The movie also holds its own in terms of filmmaking qualities; there was the genuine intrigue, as was the ability to make every word Amir says seem like an act of defiance, and there was also catharsis. Plus, the movie doesn’t try to seem sophisticated, as Pidgin and Hausa dialogues are dominant.
But its coup de grace was in the form of the movie’s final twist. Amir decides to kill Sadan by way of setting off the bomb at a mosque (which would kill him as well), and that seems to be that. Except having been injured following his encounter with Sister Dorcas, Amir passes out and can’t carry out the task. He wakes to a note from Nkem, who has decided to carry out the act herself, blowing up herself and Sadan at the mosque, which really does seem fitting as she carries out her objective of making sacrifices for her brother to the very end. The Delivery Boy also deserves credit for veering away from the ‘boy meets girl’ cliché, by not making Nkem and Amir really become friends or intimate or anything thing of the sort. Both are two people with different aims who just happen to cross paths.
But Amir does right by Nkem in the end, after the surgery of her brother, by paying their uncle a visit. We don’t quite know what happens in there, but we can have a good guess. And The Delivery Boy had earned the right to have us guessing that final act. It has told us enough.
From Sodas’N’Popcorn, The Delivery Boy gets a rating of Popcorn and Soda.
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