Both the Larkin article and The Master address the issue of economic instability as a central topic in Nigerian film and life. Larkin cites AbdouMaliq Simone’s description of insecurity and its pertinence to Nollywood: “This insecurity is economic, social, and spiritual, and it is a world of instability and experimentation that provides the grounds on which Nigerian films feed and grow.”
The Master handles various examples of economic insecurity as the basis of the film. Denis was deported from Europe. Based on his depression after being deported, it seems likely that he was financially stable and independent to some extent while being in Europe. This is suddenly taken away from him when he is forced to return to Nigeria. However, hope for Denis is restored once his brother lends him the 70,000 naira for a new business venture. Just as quickly though, this wealth is robbed from Denis through a scam by our supposed Ivory Coast friend. This fluctuation continues as Denis accumulates great wealth through his 419 scams, but finds it abruptly taken away from him again when he is arrested. The entire plot of The Master details this idea of insecurity and the lack of control over one’s life. In many ways, this film is not just a film about a man that conducts 419 scams, it’s about a man that is never able to achieve control over his wealth and constantly experiences outside forces underlining his economic insecurity.
It could be simple enough to say that Denis is simply an unlucky man, but I think this film speaks to the transience of wealth and the lack of control many people feel that they have over their lives. Despite the low production quality of Nollywood films, it’s easy to see the appeal they serve in the lives of Nigerians. In their melodramatic and over exaggerated fashion, Nollywood addresses issues of great cultural importance.