Gangs of Lagos, the first African Original for Prime Video, is creating buzz as a high-stakes, gritty, and hard-hitting action crime-thriller with an authentic storyline that portrays the intense hustle on the streets of Lagos. Directed by Jade Osiberu, who also co-produced and co-wrote the film, and co-produced by Kemi Lala Akindoju, Gangs of Lagos merges both Old and New Nollywood, with a target audience that cuts across different generations.
The film revolves around a group of friends who must navigate destiny while growing up on the bustling streets and neighborhood of Isale Eko, Lagos. It features elaborate set pieces, action scenes, and engaging dialogue, balanced out by its high-octane pace and an emotionally grounded story at its core. The themes of friendship, family, secrets, and betrayal are interwoven with a uniquely Nigerian twist, showcasing the culture and reality of life in Lagos.
“This is a story about empathy, dreams, and love,” says Osiberu. “I wanted to humanize people who live lives we don’t understand. It’s a revelatory film that also sheds light on political thuggery and the challenges of living in Lagos.”
The film’s main character, Oba, played by Tobi Bakare, is a male child born in the Isale Eko community. His mother, a white-garment Christian, fears that he will follow in his father’s footsteps, who was an African spiritualist, and die young. She struggles to get him out of the community and sends him to school, hoping for a better life outside. However, Oba’s journey leads him back to the path that was originally predicted for him, with encounters with gangsters and challenges along the way.
Bringing together a talented cast, including Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Chike, Chioma Chukwuka, and Ola Rotimi, among others, Osiberu shares that she was intentional in casting actors who could portray the characters authentically and deliver compelling performances. The actors rose to the challenge, meeting the director’s expectations and bringing their characters to life on screen.
Shooting in Lagos presented its own set of challenges, with the unpredictable nature of the city and street harassment during outdoor scenes. However, the cast and crew came together to create a film that captures the essence of Lagos and its people.
Osiberu hopes that audiences will recognize and empathize with the humanity of the characters in the film, and that they are both entertained and enlightened by the story. The film has already gained attention for its unique Nigerian twist on the action-crime genre, and anticipation is high for its release on Prime Video.
As the first African Original for Prime Video, Gangs of Lagos is a significant milestone for African cinema, showcasing the talents of Nigerian filmmakers and actors while offering a fresh take on a popular genre. With its engaging story, authentic portrayal of Lagos, and a talented cast, Gangs of Lagos promises to be a compelling watch for audiences around the globe.