Novelty is always a testament to healthy imagination and the existence of limitless possibilities in any calling. The Visit, the sophomore production from KOGA Studios, captivates the viewer. The rarity of feature films, which keep viewers glued to their seats for more than two hours is the singular most important reason to see The Visit, where a four-man cast offer unending entertainment.
Whereas Eugenia (Bhaira McWizu) and Chidi (Femi Jacobs) are prim and proper, their neighbours with whom they share a building, Ajiri (Nse Ikpe-Etim) and Lanre (Blossom Chukwujekwu) are carefree and rough. An incident prompts the latter couple to visit the former and the masks of nobility, respectability and affectation, which envelop these couples, come off totally.
Chukwujekwu wears the character of Lanre Shagaya (Lord Shagwell) like a prized birthday garment in what is arguably his most brilliant performance yet; his looks are well-crafted for this role. Femi Jacobs is competent as the slimy Chidi while his wife, Eugenia cannot be beaten by anyone, real or imagined, in the ‘faking’ game. McWizu’s performance is at par with her portrayal of Cindy in her Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO)-winning movie, Cindy’s Notes. Of course, Ikpe-Etim does not disappoint.
The screenwriters are acknowledged for creating expectations and taking the story to a different direction, each time. For instance, when Lanre calls Ajiri a bitch and she responds by asking him, ‘Is it is not losers that marry bitches?, one thought domestic abuse will follow, but the story goes another way. In fact, whenever Lanre steps up to his wife in anger, it appears a showdown is underway. The deployment of witty dialogue and innumerable subtexts do not go unnoticed. Even the sexual innuendo in the name Shagaya – Shagwell – is apt.
The movie also tasks the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and other traffic regulatory agencies albeit subtly to introduce punitive penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) so as to deter offenders and saving lives at the same time.
The Visit’s shortcoming is that it is built on, at least, two faulty premises. One, the contact between the two couples is triggered by the unruly behaviour of the Shagayas, which becomes intolerable when the glass window is shattered. Two, Ajiri and Eugenia are said to have grown up in Warri and Sapele (two neighbouring towns in Delta State) respectively.
For the former, an upwardly mobile couple like Eugenia (a popular, full-time blogger) and Chidi, an IT Professional who consults for Google, would have thinned out the smell of marijuana plus the noise from their neighbours by constantly turning on their air conditioners, which are seen one of the days Ajiri and Lanre run round the house. Yet, there could have been explanations as to why their windows are open. They live in Nigeria where electricity is still a luxury. It could have been that their generator is faulty and the regular repairer has not come to fix it. Eugenia’s condescending attitude is enough to keep the generator repairer away for days; then maybe the couple do not like too many hands touching their machines and appliances. Additionally, since everything is on schedule for Eugenia, maybe the windows have to be open every Saturday to let in fresh air, but locked on other days.
On the second faulty premise, the Warri variant of the Pidgin English is unmistakable, contradicting Ajiri’s claim that she was raised in Warri and lived there for 18 years. Above all, she could not pronounce her name appropriately, the Warri way. Ajiri is pronounced /aʒiri/ as in measure not /adʒiri/as in judge; same for Ejiro and Damijo, two other names from that part of the country.
The fact that Ajiri is from Warri should have come from her accent, she did not have to say so herself because dialogue could also show action in film. However, the director fails to execute this properly. Even when Eugenia speaks Pidgin English, the “Waffi” accent is not very discernable. Eugenia could not even properly pronounce Sapele the second time. Still, the producers could have made two ladies come from any part of the country.
Eugenia says “offsprings”, offspring does not take ‘s’in the plural form. The prim and proper Chidi tells Ajiri that she has been running her mouth. Please, what does that mean? The subtitle is not accurate and/or complete in some places. Many times, the subtitle appears fully before the character completes a statement, distracting viewers and giving them the information beforehand.
The editor should have made the words appear as the actors voice them. Nse’s name is written as Nse-Nkpe Etim instead of Nse Ikpe-Etim, how wrong, particularly in a film where the producers did not have many names to compile! Lanre says, “I grew up in GRA”, which GRA? I grew up in a GRA or in the GRA would have been a better expression.
If Oyefunke Fayoyin had been more thorough, she might have ended up with a film in the mould of Violated, Out of Bounds, Hostages, The Truth, Diamond Ring and The Untold. Needless to say, it is not enough to hit on a brilliant idea, the execution of the same to achieve excellent results is even more important and this is where The Visit falters.