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By Guardian Nigeria

03 November 2022   |  
1:27 pm

In their feature directorial debut, “Jungle”, Nigerian-British music manager Junior Okoli and music video director Chas Appeti, deliver a new take on a crime drama for PrimeVideo.

In their feature directorial debut, “Jungle”, Nigerian-British music manager Junior Okoli and music video director Chas Appeti, deliver a new take on a crime drama for PrimeVideo.
Jungle marks the duo’s Nothing Lost production company’s first grand entrance into the big screen.

The six-part series unleashes its cast living in a futuristic, cyber-inflected inner city street of London and how they are confronted by social issues that are underlying trauma at the roots of their criminal lifestyle.

Okoli describes Jungle as a “documentary” that sends out a profound message that highlights the trauma within the people and gives us an insight into how people survive and thrive in their environment.

“Jungle documents how people are wired and why they make the decisions they make because they feel marginalized, frustrated, and oppressed. It also touches on cause and reactions, the reprecaustion for their actions,“ Okoli told GuardianLife.

“Jungle” divulges into a world where only the strongest can survive. The series dives into the lives of two different characters named Gogo (Ezra Elliot) and Marcus (Poundz).

These pivotal characters are caught up in a societal-inflicted trauma influenced by their actions and the desire to escape from it and live a decent lifestyle. Even with their decision to repent, they are still caught up and made to face certain consequences of their past decisions and actions.

At the very beginning of “Jungle,” the first three episodes center on Gogo, a young thief and father-to-be, trying to escape the city. When we meet Gogo at the start of the film, he is traumatized. Despite this, Gogo is still optimistic and clinging to the slightest hope that he’ll be able to escape his trauma and move to Pemba Island in Tanzania with the money he gets from one last heist.

As the subsequent events unfold, we are introduced to how Gogo and his work partner, Slim (rapper RA) organise a heist. However, things get awry and the robbery turns out to be the beginning of an uncertain end for Gogo.

The second half of the drama switches things up with the other character, Marcus, a painter who also wants to break out of the jungle to start a new life and be a better role model for his brother, Danial (Seyi Andes-Pelumi). However, just like Gogo, Marcus has a shady past that he must confront.

In this series, Okoli has proven his writing skills with the way he shaped the entire cast, making them totally relatable to the viewers in some context, especially with the trauma the two main characters had to face as they journey through life.

Acknowledging this trauma in people’s lives, Okoli told RollingStone that “for a long time, we didn’t know that we were traumatised. We just thought this is our natural disposition. Jungle is shining a light on what makes a demographic of people the way they are. The person you see walking down the street who looks aggressive or frustrated, they weren’t born like that. What series of events led to their demeanour? Ignorance is what breeds hatred, and once you start to understand a demographic and a culture, then there’s recourse for conversation.”

But what sets “Jungle” apart from every other crime drama is how the cast was able to communicate their emotions and struggles in a thought-provoking depicted mixture of a unique blend of music and dialogue.

The series gets its emotional quotient from how Okoli and Appeti use drill music as a means of communication that will resonate with the younger generation. “We had to use drill music to communicate. When you are trying to communicate with people, you have to communicate in a language they understand,” said Okoli.

Collectively, the series brings a much-needed fresh perspective on how society shapes its people and to execute that and convey their message. The creator put together a cast dominated by musicians, and stars some of the top UK drill and rap artists including Tinie Tempah, Big Narstie, Unknown T, Jordan McCann, Jaykae, IAMDDB, Double Lz, Bandokay, M24 among others.

For what it’s worth, the entire cast and crew did a great job in creating this show with a layout that has an arresting visual imagination that is far different from your typical crime drama. Together, they were able to give the Jungle a storybook edge and a tone that is easily engaging and comprehensible. The shots are fluid and rich in cinematography, leaving viewers wanting more.

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