Light in the Dark

At its best, “Light in the Dark” is a good home video

“Light in the Dark” opens with some very exciting camerawork. Joke Silva is lying in bed and in a conversation with her daughter, Jumoke (Rita Dominic). She doesn’t want her daughter to marry Emeka Arinze (Kalu Ikeagwu). Because Igbo boys are IBADAN. Ibadan here is not the southwestern city. But an acronym for ‘Igbo boys are dangerous at night‘.

By the way, she’s not the only one that is prejudiced. Emeka’s mother (Ngozi Nwosu) would rather he married his ex-girlfriend, Ifeoma (Bimbo Ademoye). However, Emeka is too in love with Jumoke to have that. And in a scene that makes your heart melt, Jumoke says ‘yes’ to Emeka.

Emeka proposes to Jumoke

Eleven years into their marriage, Emeka and Jumoke are still happy and have a 10-year old daughter, Adaeze. But Jumoke is trying to have another child and hopes it would be a boy to appease Emeka’s family. They also have thriving careers.

In contrast, life is not so rosy for their neighbours – Sadiq (Emmanuel “Mannie” Essien) and Amina (Kiki Omeili) Abubakar. Omeili – whose attempts at a Hausa accent make her sound like Anezka in “Jane the Virgin”, also has only one child called Ahmed. She’s also been without work for four. One night, in a sad turn of events, both families are attacked by robbers. And things would hardly get back to normal.

At first “Light in the Dark” starts out as a movie about inter-tribal marriages. But it develops into a story about the tough decisions couples sometimes have to take to save their marriages. The movie’s director, Ekene Som Mekwunye joins Babatunde Ojo on the screenplay. They marry the plot lines well and tell a touching story. Regrettably, they are not successful at stirring it away from the predictability.

Rita remains of one Nollywood’s finest for her versatility. And Mekwunye relied on Rita to carry the movie. She did, by bring the Jumoke character alive. Still, we hoped for events to unfold differently. But they did. In the end, “Light in the Dark” is same old, same old. And it let us down. Hey, don’t ask us what the plot twist should have been. We just hoped for a different storyline. It was Emeka’s reignited relationship with Ifeoma that turned out to be the interesting plot twist. The only thing as surprising is the close-up shot in the rape scene. It was gripping and made ones’ heart skip a beat.

Ahmed’s home movie was another weak point in the plot. Although it was important to the issue resolution, it wasn’t well executed. Nobody just goes around the house with a camcorder. Was he making a home movie for a school project? Or a family event? In those instances, Ahmed’s home movie would have been a more meaningful addition to the storyline. The investigation was also a bit sloppy. What clues led the investigator (Nonso Odogwu) to track down the gang before he planted a mole?

Also while not downplaying the trauma rape victims face, at some point “Light in the Dark” became a little long-winded. But for all intents and purposes, Mekwunye passed on his message.

At its best, “Light in the Dark” would have been a good home video but Rita and Kalu’s acting sucked us in. Their vivid onscreen chemistry make “Light in the Dark” a worthwhile Saturday afternoon experience for moviegoers.

“Light in the Dark” opened in cinemas on 25 January.

Directed by: Ekene Som Mekwunye

Cast includes: Rita Dominic, Kalu Ikeagwu, Joke Silva, Ngozi Nwosu, Saidi Balogun, Nonso Odogwu, Emmanuel “Mannie” Essien, Kiki Omeili and Bimbo Ademoye.

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About the author

A lover of the arts who sees film and television through the eyes of the Nigerian viewer.