BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Let me tell you a story.
Many years ago when cell phones were a rarity and Volkswagen Beetle cars were posh, there was a gust of love-themed movies in Nollywood, so much so that the producers began to run out of titles. They employed the use of adjectives to define love: crazy love, dangerous love, true love, real love, eternal love… the list was endless, and so was the love. It was around this period that the 2003 movie, Love, was produced by Don Pedro Obaseki, who perhaps couldn’t find any more adjectives as they had all been exhausted.
Love tells the story of Anita (Genevieve Nnaji) who is jilted by her fiancé, Victor, shortly before their proposed wedding for Cathy, a rich married woman portrayed by Jennifer Eliogu. While she hurts, she develops a hatred for men in general, and even though her friend Violet (Theodora Ochonogor) who also doubles as her pastor’s wife gives her advice to move on, she’s too bitter to listen. She meets Stanley (Richard Mofe-Damijo) on one of her gloom-walks to the beach who begins to pay her visits at her home which mostly end in insults. She finally gives him a chance when he is relentless.
When Victor (Segun Arinze) moves back into town and comes to beg, she is smitten by him again, and ends her relationship with Stanley, who, unknown to her, has already made a blood covenant with her. Stanley begins to haunt them from then on.
There is nothing remotely exciting about this story. Blood oaths are an essential part of hostel midnight chatters; everyone has heard at least one story about them. How this movie is presented doesn’t help matters much, either. You discover at some point in the movie that it is all a dream and you begin to wonder where the dream begins and where it ends. It’s an attempt at a thriller that goes awry, and even with an introduction of a pastor into the plot which is expected to infuse some sort of balance and salvage the situation, nothing exactly happens. He’s just, perhaps, an addition to the cast to appeal to the sensibilities of a certain religious sect.
Save for the performance of the man who portrays Cathy’s husband, the acting is generally okay. Alas, it just isn’t okay enough to save the awfully over-flogged storyline. The choice of the cast is also a major cause for concern. Segun Arinze and RMD acting as unmarried ‘lover-boys’ just doesn’t sit well in the stomach, even as far back as 2003. But then, one isn’t surprised; if a John Okafor (popularly known as Mr Ibu) can be cast as a secondary school student, what should we not expect?
The audio quality is terrible, as one must really strain to hear what is being said due to interferences by breeze or something of the sort. Some of Genevieve’s reactions are a tad too erratic, and when she jumps on RMD in one scene and says ‘Kiss me!’, you’d think she means ‘Slap me!’ with the expression on her face. There’s the continual back and forth fillers, where Stanley chases and Anita runs and Violet advises and the cycle won’t end. There are also long scenes where Stanley is shown at the waterside just gazing into space, or admiring a piece of painting allegedly done by him. For a movie that is an hour and a half long, remove the fillers and what you have is a fifteen-minute short film.
The arrangement of the scenes are haphazard; the reason why one isn’t sure where the dream initiates or terminates, and after several months depicted in the movie, or perhaps years, it’s interesting that we still find the actresses donning the same artificial weaves.
In 2003, Love may have been tolerable, but judging by more developed standards, it falls short one too many times. And how it ends? Ridiculous doesn’t even begin to describe it. It would seem like the writer was tired of his story and just said to the rest of his team, ‘You know what, guys? Let’s just stop anywhere. Nigerians will watch anything Genevieve and RMD appear in. That’s what matters.’ Well, who would have thought our tastes would evolve?
I’ll give this Love a 20 upon 100. It is very poorly written, arranged and delivered.