DIRECTOR: PATIENCE OGHRE IMOBIHO
STARRING BAYRAY MCWIZU, RYKARDO AGBOH, IFEANYI KALU, KEHINDE OLORUNYOMI
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2016
It is the story of a married couple, a best-selling Author, Joseph, and a Lawyer Linda. Joseph is writing his second novel, it has to be as good as, or better than the first one, which received critical acclaim. His second novel is titled, Till Marriage do us Part and it focuses on a cheating wife. However he is unsure of how to complete the story of the unfaithful wife. Soon, he starts to suspect his wife Linda for infidelity. He has every reason to; the late phone calls, and the uncomfortable reaction whenever he brings up his story leads to suspicion. Unfortunately for Joseph his life ends up playing out similarly to the story in his novel. His wife is cheating. He also cheats on her with a psycho and from there; there is a revelation of unexpected situations.
From the beginning of the film Linda and Joseph do not seem to have a relationship that married couples should have. The first time they react to each other comfortably is when she opens up about her client that is seeking divorce from her unfaithful husband.
The Novelist has a very interesting storyline. It is supposed to be an intense thriller. That is what the filmmakers were going for; the problem is that thrillers are not slow paced. They are intense. They spark interest and a raging fire. They cause tension. The Novelist succeeds in having only few of these attributes. The film starts very slowly, it improves deep into the film but then it crashes again at the end. It leaves us with an unimpressive start and finish but with a very intense and commendable middle part or Act 2, using the film language. Linda is cheating on Joseph with his uncle; somehow, the uncle is also having an affair with Linda’s friend who is not happy in her marriage. When Joseph starts suspecting Linda he cheats on her with his editor, who is in fact, insane. She starts stalking him and goes as far as stabbing herself. The story had potential for deep exploration of other themes, the problem is, the writer chose to stick to a calm husband turned psycho without building this expectation in the audience.
Joseph kills Linda when he finds out she is cheating.
Linda forgave him for the same thing, she was willing to fight for her husband when his editor Oumar, falsely accused him of attempted murder. She finds a Lawyer for him, and immediately he finds out that she slept with his uncle he takes a knife and stabs her. Is that the writer excusing men as cheats but women as incapable of doing the same? How do we immerse ourselves in such a story? Joseph never shows any sign of mental disorder, he is not psychotic.
When he contemplates how to punish his lead character, he says the lead character in his novel will be shot for cheating but even that does not sound like a psychotic husband but an author exploring captivating options to end his novel.
Bayray Mcwizu carries this film alone, she is a good actress and she does exceptionally well in the Novelist. She is the wife that has to hide her affair, be a professional lawyer and also a good friend and she manages all these alone. Her husband played by Ifeanyi Kalu is too soft for the role and maybe that is where the problem really lies. His character is uninspiring. He is flat, almost too flat. Sometimes he picks himself up and does well, other times he is too relaxed. Kehinde Olorunyomi is also commendable.
The cast of The Novelist are mostly new actors and while they manage to perform greatly in some aspects, in others they do the film no justice. Rykardo Agbor does not do anything out of the box here aside from being the Uncle that is having an affair with his nephew’s wife, he does nothing else.
The picture quality is commendable and Patience, the director makes a good effort. The film is a good effort; the only problem is that Nollywood at this point is not in need of good efforts but the best effort. If they did a little more with the script and some of the actors, this film will have been spectacular but they did not.
Grading the Novelist, it would be a C for effort.