BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
Body Language begins with a bang. We are at a strip club and the dancers are gutsy, skilled and daring, not a combination you find lying around in many homegrown films. It moves on to a heart-racing murder of one of the strippers in her home, and immediately gets your attention, especially when you find on a crime board, pieces of newspaper cuttings and photos of victims –mostly strippers, much like what is obtained in Walter ‘Waltbanger’ Tayleur’s Gbomo Gbomo Express. The supposed killer is invested in a documentary on birdwatching, and this, too, is curious. You’re eager to know who this killer is, and why he seems to have a thing for strippers.
Tola, another stripper who is a marketing professional by day seems to be the next target according to the board. She crosses paths with Nick Yahaya, a middle-aged CEO who works with her company and seems to stalk her when she’s not looking. Nick also pays a robust fee for her services at night but hardly pays attention. The movie concentrates on these two then, as they get to know each other through coded dialogue and question each other’s intentions. In the end, the killer is revealed, and found to be just within this same circle.
The story, while possessing snatches of brilliance, falls quickly into the typical storyline of crime thriller novels and sheds its authenticity like a shell. The climax is particularly cliché, and collapses into a less that riveting resolution. A movie with a dark dramatic twist is only truly beautiful when the motives are spelt right. Why does the villain kill or harm? What does he desire to achieve in the grand scheme? What drives his villainy? Revenge, bitterness, a haunting past? The viewer is curious to fit these pieces, while still having his attention fastened to the piece of content.
In Body Language, a lot of questions are left unanswered, weakening the characters and giving the viewer a feeling of discontent. The final scenes, which are the most important because of their revelation, are ruined with subpar acting and unnecessary dialogue.
Tola is played by Tana Adelana who gives a stellar performance. She navigates the switch from lady of the night to innocent-looking career-driven woman well, giving the material she has to work with. Co-starring with her is Ramsey Nouah, who is surprisingly stiff on this one. He is so rigid you can barely connect to his character on any level. In a lot of scenes, he comes off as simply reciting the script, and while we understand that the straightness of his face is to give nothing away, we doubt that there is anyone that rigid that the audience can connect to. We need to feel, but the character elicits no emotions from his audience.
Ken Erics’ role in this is irrelevant. However, he plays his irrelevance with quite the finesse. Emem Ufot is hilarious in his two-scene role, and ignites the hopes we have nursed of him taking on a major role in a film. The soundtracks, mostly by Nonso Amadi, are apt.
Body Language is produced by Royal Arts Academy’s, Emem Isong Misodi, and directed by Moses Inwang of Alter Ego. It is ambitious and attempts to be more, but its good intentions are only seen, not experienced.