BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Composed of many new faces, comprised mostly of students from Emem Isong Misodi’s Royal Arts Academy, Spotlight is a 2015 movie directed by Sukanmi Adebayo.
Spotlight spots the light on the lives of three ladies from completely different backgrounds, who meet at a film academy to get trained and compete for a lead role in a blockbuster. The academy runs for six weeks, and despite meeting each other under malicious circumstances, they are grouped as a team and soon become best of friends.
Hope (Mena Sodje), whose real name is Orode, is brash and uncouth, from a very humble family and has a tout for a brother and a struggling single mother. For acting roles, she is willing to sleep with anyone but has nothing to show for her efforts. She enrols in the academy with a fake name and borrowed money, and tries to groom herself to fit in, but is constantly harassed by a know-it-all who never misses a chance to tell her how terrible her diction is. During the course of her articulation lessons, she develops feelings for her tutor, Sukky (Bolanle Ninalowo).
Shiza (Lota Chukwu) is brilliant and soft-spoken, a law graduate from a well to do lineage of lawyers. She would be leaving for law school in a few months, and in the meantime attends the film school because acting is where her passion really lies. But her father (portrayed by Emma Anyalogu) must not hear a word of it, so she lies that she has registered in a computer school and keeps up with the lies until graduation day.
Anjola (Onyeka Emechebe) lives with a fiancé who has no faith in her. Because she neither has a degree nor a job, he constantly puts her down. While at film school, she meets Kolade (Ikechukwu Akanno), a fellow student with lots of acting experience, who is fascinated by her and asks her out. She is torn between a fiancé she has dated for five years and a man who thinks the world of her but has only known her for a few weeks. These ladies help each other out, face storms together and are able to convince the people in their lives that they were indeed made for the screen.
There is a distinctiveness to this story that is thumbs-up-worthy. I imagine the writer, Anthony Kehinde Joseph, sat and thought, and took a cup of coffee and had a nap and thought again, because, not only are the lines properly written and delivered, but the resolution is not cliché.
There are cameo appearances by renowned stars, acting as themselves in the movie: OC Ukeje, Desmond Elliot, Omoni Oboli and Segun Arinze. While the last three appear as judges in the final presentation, their selection process is slapdash and without good reason. Desmond claims that the time constraint won’t allow him use a particular star because she has a black eye, but if she really is the best there is, why sacrifice good acting on the altar of inconsequential deadlines when there’s makeup to fix the defect?
The main cast puts up good performances. For people still learning the ropes, their acting is praise-worthy, but improvements can still be made. Ejike, the director of the academy in the movie speaks so well you’d want to keep listening to him. Edosa, Hope’s younger brother, also adds comedy that cracks you up. I’ll commend the clarity of production and the directing, even though certain scenes seem to go on for far too long. The movie scene in Spotlight where a man chokes to death on ingesting a poisoned drink is perhaps one of the best scenes. It would have made a nice addition to the main plot were it a part of the main story. There’s a scene where Anjola’s wireless body microphone bulges through her dress as she tries to get out of the car. The editor could easily have nipped this in a bud with more thoroughness.
For its fair story and its fresh acts who gave a good show, I’ll give Spotlight 59%. It isn’t the best film there is, but it has the potential to be a great film if the edges were better straightened.