1st December, 2019
Nollywood sweetheart, Ego Boyo raised our hopes when she announced the arrival of her executive-produced film but it failed to pull our heartstrings the way we hoped.
‘The Ghost and The House of Truth’ does not lack good intentions as one can see the idea behind the script. Although it is not as clear as day, the heart behind the writing shows.
Still, intentions do not make good films neither does it matter if a crowd writes a script. In this case, three people wrote this script and it still manages to fall flat.
The things wrong with the ‘The Ghost and The House of Truth’ are not totally bad and the good parts are not great either. Yet, the movie does not hit average.
It follows the life of a woman, Bola (Susan Wokoma) who works as a reconciliation officer but had to deal with forgiveness herself when her 12-year-old daughter was murdered.
As earlier stated, it was a good film idea – the psychological thriller feel. Still, the director did not do much to allow the actors soak in the roles they were given.
Only one character stood out and it was clearly the efforts of the actress herself.
This was Kate Henshaw as Officer Stainless, a ruthless pregnant inspector who makes sure the case is solved.
It can be seen that Henshaw’s character was made pregnant for a reason and that is to evoke emotions as she struggles between caring for herself and solving the case.
This did not fly through the screen. In fact, except for the bulging stomach, audiences forgot that the police officer was pregnant.
Perhaps the one screen where she puts a crib together should have said more.
Back to the lead actress, Wokoma is not a bad actress. The British-Nigerian actress needed better direction, better dialogue coach and better understanding of her character.
She is supposed to be a distraught mother who commits a crime because she was avenging a dead child. It begs for one question – what did the director do?
Did he just supervise the beautiful shots overlooking Makoko, the railway or the almost blurred images that made one struggle to decipher what year the movie was set in?
For the kind of movie they were looking at making, a lot had to come together that did not. First, character buildup. We did know the missing child enough to miss her when she was killed.
The same way we did not understand her mother’s emotions enough to empathise. What is the story and why should we care? Second, the costumes and mannerisms of the characters needed better work.
Third, striking dialogue which was missed here. Audiences would crane their ears to listen because they also want to solve the murder case.
Lastly, Suspense. Let the story hang on suspense which is built on level of interest. While all these things hung in the balance, the most striking flaw was pidgin English.
The film was shot with mostly pidgin and Yoruba dialogues which would make sense. However, the brand of pidgin spoken does not represent Nigeria and tiring to listen to, especially from the lead actress.
With all said and done, ‘The Ghost and The House of Truth’ is a good effort that fails to capture the attention a story intention like that deserved.
(NAN Box-office Review)