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Shina: An Unthrilling Bumpy Ride Plagued By Plot Holes

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The synopsis for Shina on Netflix read: “A taxi driver tries his best to collect money for his dying grandma’s treatment while everything seems to be bringing him back to his past.” Intrigued by this premise, I anticipated a compelling narrative that delved into how the protagonist’s current predicament would uncover and intertwine with his past.

However, the film failed to meet these expectations. The next day, the synopsis was revised to: “A taxi driver in bustling Lagos agrees to deliver a mysterious package in exchange for his dying mother’s medical treatment.” It seems someone recognized the need to adjust the description, yet despite this change, the film still fell short. Especially, in delivering a lasting emotional impact.


Directed by: Muyiwa Adesokun/Lilian Karmenine Ike-Okoro
Written by: Muyiwa Adesokun
Genre: Drama
Released on: June 17, 2024 (Netflix)
Language: English, Pidgin English, Yoruba


The story highlights the perilous intersection of personal desperation and satirizes Nigeria’s chaotic political landscape. The film explores themes of loyalty and sacrifice, as Shina is torn between saving his grandmother and rescuing his friend Ugo. His choices ultimately reveal the profound consequences of such difficult decisions. Through its narrative, “Shina” paints a vivid picture of personal and political turmoil.


Shina takes us on a ride with Oluwashina Akanji, a taxi driver in Lagos who finds himself in a dire situation during a highly charged gubernatorial election. Faced with his grandmother’s critical illness, Shina is driven to desperate measures to secure money for her surgery. His journey pulls him into a dangerous realm of political intrigue and criminal entanglements.

Shina’s predicament intensifies as he becomes entangled with his friend Ugo and the notorious gang leader BB.

Amidst the election frenzy, Shina’s struggle underscores the profound challenges of accessing healthcare and the moral dilemmas faced by those in desperate circumstances. Compassionate Dr. Morenike, risking her career to help Shina’s grandmother, embodies the selflessness often required in the face of systemic failures.


The film boasts a cast of popular actors, but without a well-written story, what does that leave you? What’s the point of a film with unconvincing characters? And it’s not an actor problem, but a story problem.

The performances in Shina are significantly lacking. The film suffers greatly from poorly written dialogue and underdeveloped characters, which are primarily script issues. The narrative relies excessively on dialogue rather than visual storytelling, resulting in actions that fail to convince. Additionally, certain shots exacerbate the problem by failing to support the actors’ performances, further diminishing the film’s overall impact.

Now, let’s get into the actors themselves and their performances.

First, the eponymous protagonist, Shina (portrayed by Timini Egbuson), brings his usual acting persona to the role. While he often excels as a supporting actor, his performance as the lead falls short. The character doesn’t seem to suit him, and his portrayal lacks the heartfelt depth needed for the role. This may be partly due to the story itself, which doesn’t provide a strong foundation for a more compelling performance.

Akin Lewis is well-suited for the role of BB, but his performance and believability were hindered by the poor writing of the character. He’s a talented actor who could have embodied the menacing character envisioned, but the poor writing reduced BB to a mere figurehead.

The camera angles did him no favours either, failing to enhance his presence. Despite being forcibly taken and surrounded by threats, Shina showed no fear, boldly shouting and throwing swear words right in front of the supposedly intimidating BB. This lack of convincing tension, coupled with the awkward camera placement, made their confrontations unconvincing and embarrassing to watch.

Linda Ejiofor-Suleiman portrays Dr. Morenike, a character whose potential is undermined by poor writing. The script fails to delve into the motivations behind her unwavering passion for helping Shina’s grandmother, leaving her character one-dimensional. Dr. Morenike is depicted as an almost implausibly virtuous figure, whose sole purpose seems to be embodying goodness.

This lack of depth and exploration into her character’s background and motivations renders her altruism unconvincing and detracts from the complexity one would expect in a well-rounded character.

The film also features a distinguished cast, including veteran actress Alieru “Mama Rainbow” Idowu Keji as Mama (Shina’s grandmother), Segun Arinze as Dr. Bakare, Tope Tedela as Ugo, Shawn Faqua as AY, Immaculata Oko-Kasum as Ronke, and Kelechi Udegbe.

Technical Aspects

The sound quality was poor, with numerous surrounding noises that were not intended as ambient sound, which ended up being distracting. Why is a siren blaring in the background? Does it serve any narrative purpose? No. It created an expectation that probably something significant was about to happen, but it never did.

There were also a few instances of poor sound editingThe sound editing made a valiant effort to enhance tension and emotion, but due to the lackluster and unconvincing story, these attempts fell flat.

Can we attribute this to production design, set design, the gaffers, or even the cinematographer? This trend is noticeable throughout the film, with questionable decisions being patched over through dialogue. For example, the excessive lighting inside Shina’s car is intended to illuminate the interior for the camera, but it lacks realism.

Most scenes take place inside the car, and to justify the glaring lights, the filmmakers resort to a dialogue where Donald questions the brightness and Shina explains that, due to a broken AC, he keeps the lights on. While this explanation is not entirely implausible, it feels contrived. We can certainly aim for more seamless and believable solutions.

The cinematography, encompassing lighting, color grading, and shot composition, had its moments of brilliance with a few standout shots. However, some compositions were unflattering for certain characters, likely exacerbated by poor editing decisions. There are two instances where the cinematographer employed an aerial shot, likely from a crane, to capture Dr. Morenike.

Despite the lack of visual cues to establish a cinematic relationship between the two shots or scenes, one of them stands out. The decision to film Dr. Morenike from above during her most vulnerable moment created a sense of detachment as if the audience is meant to observe her ordeal from a distance rather than be intimately involved.

Though the intention was to elicit pity, the lack of connection to her character and the cinematography’s unintended mirroring of this detachment resulted in an ironic disconnection from the intended emotional impact.

Final Thoughts

Shina lacked the depth and authenticity necessary to make it a convincing or engaging story. The narrative felt disjointed, and the characters were not developed enough to elicit any real emotional investment. The film’s attempt to weave a dramatic tale was undermined by a lack of coherence and believability, leaving it as a story that struggled to be taken seriously.

Given that the film had two directors, could this have caused a clash in the direction and vision it was trying to convey? At times, it’s unclear whether the film aimed to be a comedy, especially with the over-the-top, exaggerated, and satirical portrayals of the police. While the story itself has potential, it attempts to weave together too many narratives, resulting in an incoherent final product.

Moreover, we’re tired of seeing many Nollywood films being named after the nominal character.


In the end, the film seemed to adopt a passive acceptance of mediocrity and lack of seriousness in filmmaking. “Let’s just do it like that. Make we run am.” No sense of control and exact direction. Simply trying to just tell a story. Most elements of storytelling were handled without the necessary rigor, and so, we the audience perceive and treat the film with the same lack of seriousness.

Rating: 1.55/5

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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