Director Lanre Olabisi’s A Storybook Ending – Review

A contemporary neo noir with precious notes of dark satire is what filmmaker Lanre Olabisi brings to life on screen through his powerful storytelling. Olabisi gifts us with this film as a short introduction to his feature film, from which the story is based off and is under the same name, which is currently in development.

Like an ominous waltz, Bizet’s Aria from Carmen- L’amour est un oiseau (Love is a rebellious bird) spins us into the all too familiar dance of prejudice, violence and spiralling bad decisions that leads to a horrific, tension filled conclusion. Anyone familiar with this aria knows the foreboding tale it spins on love’s rebellious nature, and how neither threats or prayers would help you in the lawless world of love. As we open with a happy, smiling picture of Wale and his partner, the dulcet tones of the aria bring an almost alarming shiver of ominousness for this couples’ future.

The long and short if this tale is one that has been played out for decades, and could just as easily have taken place then too. A black man, Wale, is mistaken in the dark as a runaway criminal, and is attacked by a white police officer. In self-defense, a life is taken and a man’s whole, bright future is ripped away because of a mistaken bias. All the while, unbeknownst to Wale, his attack was recorded for blackmail purposes by some not so innocent bystanders who see this as their opportunity to take advantage.

Needless to say, Wale is not having a good night. It gets worse when his home is broken into, another life is lost in the struggle, and Wale and his partner effectively spiral more and more down the rabbit hole.

Lanre’s film may take a topical look into the antagonistic relationship between the black community and white cops, but he also sheds harsh light on the internal prejudices black people hold towards each other. The haves and have nots, a cage not of their own making, but one that guides the actions of the players in this film. Wale and his partner scramble to form a half-baked plan on the ne’er o wells who targeted them, pinning the cop’s death and all subsequent events on them, with the assurance that no one would question their story, as they are truly the victims in all this.

The film takes more horrific twists and turns, some inevitable with the tension and dead end the characters seem to find themselves in, but nevertheless, we are left on the edge of our seat as we hope for a conclusion to all the travesty that has been wrought in just a few hours of this dark night. Olabisi leaves us to make our own conclusions, but, perhaps as this tale is so wretchedly familiar in it’s portrayal, we all already know that there will be no happy ever after’s here.


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