REVIEW: Despite It’s Early Promise & Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde’s Brilliant Performance, “Alter Ego” Is Tardy & Uninspiring

BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
For a remarkable part of the first half of 2017, Omotola Jakande Ekeinde‘s daring upcoming movie was on every site and billboard and tongue. Given how celebrated Omotola is as an actor, the anticipation was high to see her cast in a film after an on-screen hiatus, and one that held promises of a lot of action, something of a legal drama like the ones with our Hollywood favorites Annalise Keating, Olivia Pope or Jessica Pearson.

Like the aforementioned, Alter Ego’s Ada Igwe is a badass lawyer who is feared and revered in legal circles for bringing sexual predators and offenders to their knees. Like them too, she has a stack of good looking men around her with whom there is an exchange of attraction and affection. Her problem? Control. Her domestic workers, her subordinates at work, and just about anyone at all she finds available gets into her bed, including her younger sister’s fiancé. She feels bad after each sexual encounter and pays the men off, never to see or have any business with them again, but as soon as the next one comes along, she is back on her back.

Then she meets Tim Ighodaro, a billionaire philanthropist in charge of an organization that offers assistance to the abused and less privileged nationwide. He develops a liking for Ada Igwe, brings her on board to collaborate with his organization, and begins a relationship with her, until she finds that he isn’t so innocent himself. She is left at a crossroad and must decide if she would fight him or succumb to love.

Omotola Jalade is phenomenal with emotion, and this film is yet another testament to the fact that even years of scarcity on the big screen hasn’t gotten her talent rusty. The story, however, isn’t flattering as it starts from a highpoint and staggers to its end. The resolution is so bad, it nearly messes up the journey that led us there. Or perhaps it is an opening for a sequel, which still doesn’t make it any less bad. Tim Ighodaro is played by Wale Ojo who delivers as a supporting actor, portraying his character with all the grace and gallantry it demands. Alter Ego also features Jide Kosoko, Madam Kofo (Abiola Atanda), Kunle Remi, Tina Mba, and several new faces that help bring on the entertainment value of the film. It also enjoys nice shots from interesting angles which seem overdone in places. 

Alter Ego is tardy. It helps with the buildup of both of Ada’s personalities, but doesn’t do justice to the many other characters introduced in passing, leaving its audience wondering what all the time is being used for. The dialogue drags along with it, and attempts to spoon-feed its audience. As is obtained in many Nollywood films, the court scenes of Alter Ego which are supposed to be the highpoints (we came for the legal drama, remember?) aren’t convincing enough. Ada Igwe is safe, and the defense counsel (played by Elvina Ibru)’s many lines are guarded. The sex scenes, even though bold (with a revelation of Kunle Remi’s bare backside that had the audience in fits of hysteria), are restrained, and for good reason: the Nigerian screen is probably not ready for more. Yet.

The film carries a serious theme of sexual abuse and the vicious cycle it creates, but manages to infuse humor in the right places that give it a balance. Still, Alter Ego lacks the wow element, and feels like a delicious-looking meal that isn’t served. A film produced by Esther Oyibio and directed by Moses Inwang of American Driver and Stalker, Alter Ego follows in the shoes of these movies, beginning with a lot of promise and snatches of brilliance, but not quite hitting it in the end.

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