Movie Review: Body Language

Producer: Emem Isong

Director: Moses Inwang

Cast: Ramsey Nouah, Tana Adelana, Ken Erics, Lawretta Richards, Emem Ufot

Year: 2017

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If you are an ardent follower of Moses Inwang, you will recognize his art as always concentrating on mental or psychological health over any other thing. “Torn,” “Stalker” and this year’s “Alter Ego” focus on the mental or psychological health of a character. If “Alter Ego” proved anything, it is that Moses can stretch his directorial effort to scout more psychological problems that can be used for learning and for entertainment. Moses also proves that 2017 is the year he collaborates with some of the biggest stars in Nollywood. He gave Omotola Jalade a well-thought comeback and Ramsey Nouah is featuring in what is one of his standout roles of the year.

Amber/Tola is played by Tana Adelana. By day, she juggles a well-paid job as a marketing specialist in an Interior decorating company. By night, she works the pole as a stripper. The reason for Amber/Tola’s interest in the pole is unknown. Loneliness is far from it because she is in a relationship with Lancelot (Ken Erics). Things begin to change when a Billionaire, Yahaya (Ramsey Nouah) begins to request Amber’s duty as a stripper. He would pay to watch her but his lack of interest makes for an interesting case. Yahaya is after something and it stirs our interest.

“Body Language” also has, as its purpose of existing, the re-occurring deaths of young ladies. Any story about a killer, especially one that whips several possibilities to the killer and the reason for the killing should get us hooked. “Body Language” starts by focusing on Anita, who has an unrivaled prowess on the stripping pole. Fellow strippers despise her, and, at first, it seems that will be the focus of the film, but Anita is killed few minutes in. Amber who has been an admirer of Anita becomes the main focus. She has a fleshier story because we experience her in two folds; as a marketing specialist and as a stripper. We also experience her controlling boyfriend Lancelot, who could offer a fresh perspective to the deaths of the ladies.

“Body Language” has a lot of spicy moments but not the type that will inspire thinking as psychological thrillers are known to do. “Body Language” whips up a number of scenes — a number of possibilities that pile up questions, and before we can answer the first set of questions, more questions pile. Sometimes, our interest is with Tola/Amber, other times it moves to Yahaya, who inspires a major plot twist. While it is interesting to watch the movie play through; the movie clearly lacks apprehension, tension, and anxiety, all elements which we love about psychological thrillers.

In her role, Tana Adelana is not explicit, in her dressing or when dancing as a stripper.  The filmmakers reject explicitness and the act of stripping appears modest. There are a number of reasons as to why the producers make a psychological thriller inspired by actions in the strip club modest; one is the consciousness of the National Film and Video Censors Board. Another reason is the critical audience that “could” tear into the lead actress Tana Adelana for being married and taking an explicit role as a stripper. The Royal Academy family has an in-depth appreciation for Tana’s talent and despite the modesty given to her performance; While the Nigerian audience may commend her for not baring all, this, unfortunately, affects the believability of her role. One thing is clear though, Tana gave her role a lot of research and training, and she plays a memorable role besides Ramsey Nouah, who plays Yahaya.

Ramsey, with his role in “Body Language”, proves that he has perfected longevity with training and dedication. He pushes the boundaries here, and when he begins to follow Tola, our focus is completely on him. What is his purpose in the whole story? And how will he pull it off? Ramsey sustains us and with that, challenges the new crop of actors to work endlessly on their craft. The difference he infuses into each character is clear, and with “Body Language,” despite the shortcomings of the production, it is worth remembering that this is Ramsey’s best offering for the year.

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