BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
The year is opening with the face of Femi Jacobs as he features in yet another 2018 film, All Shades of Wrong, written, produced and directed by Biodun Stephen. A film based on a true story, it has been one fairly anticipated because of the amount of social media publicity and expectation its trailer and behind the scene teasers roused. And because Biodun Stephen is one for major plot twists, I couldn’t wait to see what secret the film held behind its back.
The movie tells a story of a couple, Barth and Liz, who seem like the dream. They are in love and it shows, but we begin to suspect that something is off when Barth proposes to Liz just before she travels to the UK for her masters, and she is hesitant. When she returns twenty-something months later, she comes different, and paranoid Barth cannot stand it, so he takes drastic measures to put his wife’s oddity in check. We almost cheer him on, until we realise that there is something fundamentally wrong with their relationship.
I’m trying hard here not to give away any spoilers, but yeah, you probably already guessed correctly. Still, because of the never-before-seen mystery embedded in the telling of this story, you begin to hope that it is more bizarre than it eventually turns out to be, and scream a disappointed “noooooo!” when the revelation is made, because this, in fact, is no surprise at all.
One thing that helps this story, in spite of the failed suspense, is the telling of it by the director and actors. They come ready, and bring in all the emotion it requires till you believe. And after the not-so-big reveal is when you really begin to ‘feel’ this film, which implies that you could have felt it all along if they had just made it known from the beginning.
In a bid to keep this secret too, the writer makes a gaffe that is hard to ignore. When Barth goes to his hometown to visit his aunt, she asks about his girlfriend, Lara, who he claims is a ‘slay queen’ and now an ex. We realize that this was in fact twelve years ago, yet Lara comes again to Barth’s twelve years later, young and unmarried, to try to get him to sleep with her. As implausible as this seems, we also cannot ignore the fact that the only person who appears to be growing significantly older in this entire film is Ese, Bart’s cousin.
I try to do the calculation of the twelve years; four years in a private university (so no ASUU strikes), seeing Ese had already cleared her papers at the beginning of this film (and at fourteen), and then approximately three years of masters. If we threw in an additional year to ‘waiting for JAMB’, we’d still have eight years in all. How then do we account for the remaining four? The unchanging hairstyle is in our faces, but we can assume it’s the way Barth likes it and has therefore compelled Liz to abide by it forever. Again, meeting Mo in Glasgow during her masters makes one confused as to why Liz was on the phone with the same Mo on the day of her proposal. Many pieces definitely could have fit better.
The movie features Femi Jacobs as Barth, Bimbo Ademoye as Liz, Funmi Eko, who gives an outstanding performance as Mama Ese, Bolaji Ogunmola as Mo, Tiwa Oladigbo as the lawyer, and Ore Badmus as Ese.
The film passes a strong message, especially of abuse and parental neglect, and does this only within the time we begin to feel this film, in spite of its two-hour length. It also brings a lot of emotion, as you cannot but feel the pain of both parties, while still understanding how wrong it all is. The scoring of this film is unique and apt, and the film ends on an interesting note, one you really don’t see coming.
All Shades of Wrong shoots for the sun and misses, but gets props for telling an abuse story in an unconventional way.