BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Devil in the Detail opens to moans from a woman having sex. Her name is Helen Ofori and she is a classy middle-aged woman with a thriving career. The scene is sensual and steamy till a call comes in on her phone and she hurries off to receive it, leaving her husband, Ben, disgruntled. She gets dressed immediately after, makes a work-related excuse and rushes off to meet up with a man, while her husband, who is now convinced she is having an affair (based on past suspicions such as flower deliveries in their home and calls and texts that are unaccounted for), follows her to confirm.
In his depression, Claudia, his P.A. who has ever so often made passes at him, seduces him and he sleeps with her the night before his birthday. On his birthday, he realizes that it had all been a plan with the male events planner, and that his wife was actually not cheating. He is frustrated and guilty, and while he tries to break things off with Claudia, he finds that he cannot, as he seems smitten with her. His wife gets pregnant, and notices his increasing distance. She finds that he is having an affair, sets him up and catches him pants down, then reveals that she was indeed having an affair.
Okay, even I am confused. The story, as promising as it starts out to be, ends up flat and sleep-inducing. It would seem that our writer got caught up in a web, and decided to do a freestyle. In the end, holding your breathe was pointless, and you wonder what it was you just watched. It gets frustrating when you realize it isn’t only a Sparrow Productions flick, it also has in it screen sweetheart, Nse Ikpe-Etim.
The story of Devil in the Detail goes back and forth. While the man continues to be sucked into his affair, he makes it seem like he is innocent, and you almost begin to feel sorry for him. Even when he goes back to his mistress because he is jealous she is seeing someone else, somehow, you still pity him. You say: “Oh no, it’s not his fault. He is just confused.” I suppose this is the reaction the writer wants to get, and it works.
I like how the director employs the use of the flashback like a pro. But for those, one might have had to watch the movie in installments. The movie is daring as it splatters sex all over it like sugar on a doughnut. In spite of this, it is still a bore somewhere along the line, just as soon as you realize it isn’t that deep. The sparse soundtracks do not help matters either. In its defense, there are moments that make you hold your breath. There is that one time a policeman visits Ben’s office after he had just beaten his mistress thinking she poisoned his wife and she subsequently disappeared on him. At that moment, we think “Dear Lord, It’s all over! This guy is going to prison.” It turns out he isn’t, and the policeman just stopped by to see his brother.
The interpretation of roles is fair. Adjeytey Anang is Ben Ofori. He isn’t exceptional in this film and neither is Ama Ampofo who makes her debut movie appearance as Claudia. Even Nse isn’t special as Helen, and there isn’t any act that blows us away. The addition of the affair Helen has with her events planner Sammy (Mawuli Gavor) comes across as an afterthought and isn’t slightly justified. It is dropped on us all of a sudden just at the point where we are about to be grateful the movie is over, and leaves us struggling with this new piece of information as the credits roll.
As a fan of Shirley Frimpong-Manso’s filmmaking, especially the magic she makes with only a handful of cast, Devil in the Detail is a letdown. It makes promises it doesn’t deliver on, and basically just shows off sex scenes and good directing.
I give it 40%