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The Set Up (2019) Film Review: Flowers, Spoilers and Flaws

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The Set Up is about Chike, a drug mule who was blackmailed into working for a secret agency but manipulation and personal vendettas collide when a con artist hires her to assist with his scheme to marry a wealthy heiress.

Seems pretty straightforward right? Not so much!

Considering the group of people who put heads together to make this film, I expected to see an elephant fly. I had so much faith and I’m glad to announce to you, brothers and sisters, that I saw elephants fly in The Set Up.

For this review, I have outlined things I loved about The Set Up (I call them flowers), some flaws I noticed and some things people may consider spoilers. This might be a long read, so sit back and relax.

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The Set Up Review: Flowers, Spoilers and Flaws

The Unpredictable Plot

For the first time in my life, I couldn’t predict what was going to happen in a movie and I instantly fell in love. I saw how the tables turned on Chike, and it seemed like her childhood best friend betrayed her, I was hooked. I watched how the plot twists flowed so easily and I wanted to cry.

The Set Up unapologetically played games with the minds of its audience and no matter how much you enjoyed the first watch, It demands to be watched more than once.

There is so much to unpack and watching it just once will leave you grossly unsatisfied.

I mean, I watched it 3 times. Just one more and I’d have broken my Baahubali record.

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A Crash Course On Filmmaking

Right from the beginning, The Set Up shows itself to be a harmony of all parts of filmmaking and a perfect example of how every element contributes to telling the story.

We see elements such as costume, acting, lighting, set design, the script, directing, cinematography and music all come together in a perfect symphony to tell a story, or in this case, to show a set up, inside a set up, inside another set up.

The harmony puts you in a trance where you can’t pinpoint what element is most dominant in any scene. It all flows in and out of each other.

Every second was well spent, even down to the opening credit, which is the best I’ve seen so far. (There needs to be an award for Best Use of Opening Credit)

Ok, maybe not the best because of Game of Thrones, but you get what I’m hinting at.

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Can your fave ever?

The Cast, Honourable Plot Mentions and Some… Spoilers?

Adesua Etomi-Wellington absolutely embodied her role as Chike and that’s an undeniable fact. There are some films you watch and you just know the characters aren’t real. With The Set Up, Adesua commands you to believe that Chike was real and you will obey with glee.

Adesua also showed her goofy side in this film with the voice change for Janet’s character. Apparently, that voice change wasn’t a part of the script but it worked wonders for Chike’s character design. It made it seem like Chike was so good at her job that she gets into character for whatever job she was doing.

Tina Mba also did well with her role as Madam. She was such a source of fresh diabolical air that she would make you happy to see her dupe an entire family. Costume design was also evident with this character. If you watch The Set Up again, you’ll notice that Madam wore floral dresses throughout the film. I’m even surprised her hospital gown wasn’t floral.

Motunrayo in her element, selling her family away

For Motunrayo (Dakore Akande), I can’t get over her sustained naivety but we forgive her for it cause, in the end, she overcame that flaw and saved her own life and family.

Although, it’s easy to see why she would do that. From a young age, she was blamed by her mother and her own self for the death of Madam’s baby, Charity. In a bid to rid herself of guilt, and by the sheer cunning of Madam, Motunrayo agrees to plunder her family. Only later did she realize that she had made a terrible mistake that would require her to team up with another criminal and fake her own death.

Did anyone else notice that Chike almost told Bamidele her real name when they met again at the club? She just saw a fine man and nearly lost her composure. If there’s ever a sequel, I hereby ship Chike and Bamidele. None of that Chike and Edem nonsense everyone keeps talking about, please.

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“Is it Chike’s character flaw to ‘damn all’ when things don’t go her way?”

Some Flaws

The first is the scene where Chike confronts Madam on the balcony about her connection to the Eleshos. Madam tells her to stop looking into her private life and Chike says “Yes Ma”, and just leaves.

I expected Chike to bite back and maybe say a line or two about how madam thinks she’s a fool who can be pushed around and demand that Madam explains herself. That would have been more Chike-like than the “YessMah” we got.

The second flaw was where Chike, Edem, Motunrayo and Bamidele were all in Edem’s house. Motunrayo told Chike that Edem used to work with them and the new information obviously annoyed Chike. Her reaction to the new info went downhill and unprofessional from there. She started jumping into a conversation that didn’t concern her and even set aside her Janet voice.

Is it Chike’s character flaw to ‘damn all’ when things don’t go her way?

Her unprofessional behaviour made Edem drag Chike to the kitchen to warn her. Their voices were so loud that Motunrayo and Bamidele could hear all the talk about a plan and Edem wanting to marry Motunrayo. Neither Bamidele nor Motunrayo remotely reacted to what they heard.

I don’t know if it’s just me that thinks this way, but shouldn’t there have been some sort of reaction at least? If they weren’t supposed to react then why have their conversation be heard and Edem slam the door loudly?

Lastly, I cannot end this review without mentioning Mr Elesho. This man has to be the poster boy for Men Are Scum. He actually let his wife kidnap his side chick’s baby and also let her raise the child for 3 full years! Such an underrated character.

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My Verdict on The Set Up Film

If at this point, you need more convincing to watch The Set Up on Netflix, then I don’t know how to help you. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and I’m sure you will too (if you like movies that reek of intelligence). I have also added it to my list of Movies That Deserves To Be Watched Multiple Times.

Have you watched The Set Up yet? What did you feel about it? Most importantly, how many times have you watched it?

How The Set Up film makes me feel after the 10th watch

Here’s a link to watch The Set Up on Netflix: Watch Inkblot’s The Set Up on Netflix.

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9 thoughts on “The Set Up (2019) Film Review: Flowers, Spoilers and Flaws”

    1. Good Review babe. Although I felt the flashbacks weren’t arranged well but it is Niyi Akomolayan and you should expect the best as usual. He is one of my favorite movie directors

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