Desecration is an intense and heartfelt tale about marriage and infidelity, and takes on many exotic dimensions in its establishment of conflict and resolution – only, if it were produced in, like, 2001. That is, like, long before any of the better movies of Tyler Perry came into existence in this genre.
Without much ado, we shall see to it that this movie is properly broken down with the hope that we are able to come up with some real good.
Certainly, the movie is about Marriage and Infidelity, which seems to be the reason for its title. It then follows in the usual storyline of
- Husband is not getting enough sex from wife;
- Husband meets hot girl, who lures him to bed;
- Wife meets old lover she runs from because she’s married
- Hot girl cannot get enough of husband, and so haunts him;
- Hot girl is also pregnant, and plagues husband with it;
- Wife finds out in the end after lots of hide-and-seeks;
- Wife almost leaves husband for old lover, but forgives him;
- The end.
Fine. But how is the audience distracted from this obvious storyline to be continually surprised by the turn of events in the plot? Suspense?
I sort of recall a number of times where it felt like I was holding my breath in moments of supposed suspense, but when the suspense was over, it did not feel like I was holding my breath, as I did not exhale. Why is that? I know! Already exhaled the moment I held my breath, realizing it was not worth holding my breath over.
Desecration fails to greatly achieve in terms of creativity. Not that there is none, though, but not enough for 2017, which brings us to this movie’s concept of Career.
Shola (Joseph Benjamin) is a Surgeon and Adesua (Nicola Alexis) is a Lawyer. It is not enough that we see them in their work-places attending to patients and discussing clients; that is too passive. We need to see how active their work-life is in relation to the major story being told.
It is also really disappointing to see that the patients and clients of both husband and wife have nothing to do with the story, till much later when Hot-Girl Lynda (Rita Dominic) makes a forgettable remark about Adesua working for her in the past, and also her (Lynda’s) claims of Shola being her personal doctor.
Furthermore, Spinsterhood in the life of Lynda is not properly explored in this movie. This lady does not seem to have a relationship with anyone, not even a distant relative. It would be nice for the audience to really understand via creative visuals how she came to be this way. This would help place more value on the character than Rita Dominic alone does. 4/10
Probably due to its clichéd and simple storyline, Desecration turns out logically plotted out. It would, however, have been great to establish an otherwise really tight plot; every other character seems to be handling only their immediate matters; there is not even a lucky, deep connection, except for whenever the filmmaker deems it fit (now, let me try to remember a moment…none!).
Adesua talks about a Chris who cheated on his wife and got the mistress pregnant. The audience do not know this couple, and even at the salon when a man enters with his mistress, the audience thinks this is the Chris and the mistress. Lo and behold, it is some other man cheating with some other mistress. I recall someone mention something about a Williams cheat as well. SMH.
The little child (Angela Agala) talks about an Aunty Efe who had an Uncle Lawrence boyfriend, and how they all had fun together. Whatever happened to making them available, even if not for sighting, but for inclusion into the major story? It appears this filmmaker enjoys sampling random characters he believes satisfactorily fills up an imaginary gap!
There are so many ways Richard (Shola’s friend) or Adesua’s Ex could connect physically or consequentially with Hot-Girl Lynda, or some other kind of links, but with this movie, these are all missed opportunities. Because of this, there is no sub-plot, which makes this movie as linear and predictable as they come.
In any case, the setting and locations invariably spice up the structure of this movie. Here, the Nigerian audience is engaged with the credible concepts of the right-hand drive system, a working ambulance aid-system, a genuinely helpful police force, and the “difficult” abortion choices and legalities in a UK system here in Nollywood movie – in short, diaspora. Though, the continuous reference to the bank holiday in the beginning could make an audience wonder what event it is in the UK that there is a holiday. That is never shown.
On the other hand, the filmmaker appears to attach to the idea of showcasing this movie as Nollywood, thereby, casting Nigerian actors, and having some of them needlessly dialoguing in Nigerian pidgin. For the record, this movie is not Nigerian enough, and some might even claim it is not Nigerian at all. It’s somewhat obvious why; the story is too universal, and lacks the required cultural uniqueness, apart from UK.
To crown it all, the plot is more story-driven than character-driven, making it look like the characters are just unfortunate to be in the situation that they are in, rather than they being the cause of the issues themselves. More on this in the area of characterization. 5/10
Nearly every character in this movie lacks depth. Surely, there are differing aspects to each character, but they only hang on the surface.
Shola, for example, is too laid back. He cheating on his wife is made to appear like Adesua (his wife) and Lynda’s (hot girl’s) fault. Adesua being the neglecter, and Lynda, the seducer. In this movie, none of this is his fault. He’s never even able to take charge of the situation that arises from all of this at all, and really save himself. But he is saved by the police in the end. At some point in the movie, though, I also began to wonder if this is the role as directed, or if this actor can really grab a woman and firmly caress her in real life, owing to his seemingly capable looks. Boring! It would be brilliant to also have that as a reason Adesua is never ready for sex with Shola; it would all seem accurate.
Adesua, the neglecter. So true to her neglecting character as she looks around and reacts mildly to the things that happen around her. Is this one a lawyer? She never even investigates or reaches out to anyone as you would expect from a lawyer: her Ex reaches out to her; Hot Girl Lynda reaches out to her; her girlfriend (why is this character in this movie again?) reaches out to her; Shola reaches out to her. She is not even able to properly react firmly. The turning point in her character where she attempts a revenge by going out with her ex in front of her cheating husband would have compensated for this laid-back character, allowing the audience contentedly classify her as the boss, but what do we get?!
In any case, as a note worth taking, this actress (Nicola Alexis) understands what it takes to act as a laid-back character. Other actresses interested in such roles could learn a thing or two from her.
Lynda, on the third hand, unlike the other two major characters, drives her own action. She leads in every scene. Everything that happens to her is as a result of her own doing. She seduces, she investigates, she schemes, she attempts suicide. But all for what reason? (RE: how did she come to be this way?)
The child in this movie appears as though she could be vitally useful in the resolution of matters at hand, as she’s portrayed as really bright and smart, which the actress takes quite well. But then again, the character is led by the story, and therefore laid-back in areas where she could perform what she is established for.
Adesua’s Ex does not show to the audience at all what it is that made her fall in love and date him in the past. Adesua seems too refined to not have a uniqueness or taste in men. How alike are her husband and her ex? What qualities does the Ex possess that could fill the audience with the tension that she might actually give in to him? Why does her husband have to cheat before considering her ex? What point is her one-time-on-screen friend trying to make in his favour? Empty.
And this is how the characters in the movie do not reach their potential, and remain laid-back. Don’t get me started on the irrelevant appearances that were also made here and there. 4/10
I believe dialogue could be this filmmaker’s forte. It is amazing how progressive all the dialogue is in this movie. Even the small talk on a wide scale is related to matters at hand. In many instances, it is brief, and so no particular scene could be tagged for talking heads.
The dialogue also matches the identity of each character and matches the story. One could close one’s eyes and be able to identify each character, and the moment of the story by the things that are being said.
Although, the parts where Shola meets with his friend, Richard includes a little Nigerian pidgin, it would be better for unfamiliar audience to have these dialogues in subtitle. Richard appears to be saying really important things to Shola – advice and all – it would be nice to not miss out on these details.
The dialogue also avoids being on-the-nose, leaving the audience thought-provoked, but not confused. Although, it is good, it is not perfect. 8/10
This movie is too slow. Especially as it is a regular story. Although, very good attempts are made with the scene length – scenes sort of move quite fast – the movie is still too slow.
Scenes that do not add tension or flesh out the story could also be the reason this movie is slow-paced. Scenes like Shola and his patients in the hospital, and especially the prayer session one of the patients’ mother has concerning her child who ends up calling Shola to thank him in the end. Are the audience meant to feel like he is good at his job but not good at marriage? If so, then that is a real stealth method of portraying this.
It also feels like the movie stalls in its establishment of Christianity and the power of prayer. Almost like a conscious effort to not be a copycat of War Room (2015), thereby showing a minor character working on the wonders of prayers, and only revealing in dialogue that Adesua is a staunch church member, and Chris and the other married man from the salon are leaders in church.
The salon scene could have started a lot later as well, as the issues discussed earlier (married man and mistress) do not add any value to what has already been established in the movie (RE: why is this married man not Chris that Adesua earlier talked about?)
So many things do not quite add up in terms of what message this filmmaker is trying to pass, and this also contributes to how slow the movie feels till the very end. 4/10
Beautiful production generally, though: picture, sound (especially sound, what happens during threats and tensions), lighting, editing et al, but I ain’t really about that life. 25/50
Isedehi Aigbogun, also known as ISD, is a staunch academic, holding a B.A., M.A., and PhD (in view) in English Language.
She’s a Screenwriter, Screenplay Analyst, Consultant, and Film Scriptic.