BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
There are movies that fascinate you, that make you admire the way certain minds work, and keep you staring at your screen with devotion, willing it to stay on for the rest of your life. The Visit, by Biodun Stephen, comes close to this description. Very close.
Nse Ikpe Etim is carefree Ajiri Shagaya in the four-cast 2015 movie. She is a party planner, married to spontaneous Lanre Shagaya (Blossom Chukwujeku), a music producer she’s nicknamed Lord Shagwell because of his alleged mind-blowing sexual prowess. Theirs is an unconventional and chaotic marriage. They are loud at everything, disorganized and unkempt and reckless; and their actions have, over time, made their neighbors, the Nebos (there’s a nice rhyme there somewhere), utterly uncomfortable.
The Nebos, on the other hand, are exact opposites. Theirs is the prim and proper, focused and play-it-by-the-book marriage. Nerdy Chidi Nebo (Femi Jacobs) is an IT specialist. He is married to uptight Eugenia (BayRay Mcwizu), a fashion consultant and lifestyle blogger whom he met on one of his trips to France. Eugenia has her life and that of her husband on a rigid regimen. She is the more disturbed about their neighbours, and gives her husband an ultimatum, demanding that they leave or have their neighbors do.
When, on one night, Lanre and Ajiri get into a scuffle that has them running around the compound exchanging swear words, Ajiri shatters one of the Nebo’s glass windows, the couple is remorseful and decide to go pay their neighbors a visit in the morning to apologize for their misbehavior and assure them that they would get the damages repaired. The Nebos too, decide to pay their neighbours a visit and set the matter straight. They meet the Shagayas at their door.
It’s on this visit that shocking revelations begin to unfold; secrets that just won’t stop coming. In no time, both families realize that they aren’t as different from each other after all.
The Visit is what I would call ‘rich’, in every sense of the word. The storyline would keep you glued as it unravels itself peel after peel like a sumptuous banana. It is devoid of clichés, and an obvious product of deep thought. The acting is right on the mark; as real as real can be. It isn’t trying to make you believe, it just has you sold completely. The script is also very peculiar and deliberate, another applaudable rarity for a Nollywood movie. Everything that is said seems to fit into the big picture, and everything that is done as well. The movie runs for about two hours, but still remains un-put-down-able, despite the many factors that could have worked against it.
Wrapped in a foil of subtlety is the message of this Olufunke Fayoyin-directed flick. It raises issues about infidelity, cultism, genital mutilation and drug trafficking. That one movie touches this wide range of topics without being in-your-face about them is note-worthy. The casting is near perfect and the costuming suits the stars like a fitted prom dress. While Blossom is made to look like a spoilt rich reckless kid in his blings and skin haircut, Nse is tattooed all over and given a ‘shuku’ to match her vivacious ‘Waffiness’. Femi wears shirts properly tucked in with glasses that touch his nose and scream geek, and Bayray is decked in grace and poise.
It is not without its shortcomings, however. The Visit, as fun as it is, is probably not a movie you’d want to see again. The beauty of the story, apart from the uniqueness of its four-man cast or that,for the most part, it’s shot in just one house, is in the revelation of its secrets. But when all that has been seen, there’s nothing to anticipate anymore, making it a one-time wonder.
The subtitling is faulty. There are things said that aren’t written, and things written that aren’t said. There are errors in spellings and tense structures, and one wonders why they’d bother with it in the first place, ruining a perfect dish. Other than these, there’s hardly anything left to fault that the great characterization hasn’t covered.
It’s easy to think that people can’t have these much secrets and that the storyline is a bit too theatrical for real life, but these four brilliant actors make you believe that anything is possible without breaking a sweat. The language is strong though; you’d better not be watching it around your kid.
I’ll readily give The Visit a 70. It is an absolute delight.