Review of the intriguing and sexy movie 'Devil in the Detail'.
Shirley Frimpong-Manso; who carted away the Best Editor, Best Director and Overall Best Film awards at the 2014 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) for the movie, Contract, returns with this tale of abuse, deceit, suspicion, manipulation, infidelity and love: Devil in the Detail.
Helen Ofori (Nse Ikpe-Etim) and her husband, Ben (Adjetey Anang), are high-flying professionals, who have almost everything going for them. Ben suspects his wife is having an affair because she receives late night calls and the dispatch man even delivers a bouquet of flowers to Mrs. Ofori.
Rather than confront his wife, armed with the fact that he is the one the delivery man meets at the door, Ben begins to have an extramarital affair with his Personal Assistant, PA. The young lady desires more than an affair, thereby complicating matters.
One of the most compelling facts about Devil in the Detail is that it is a very fascinating flick sustained with less than eight characters; a feat that can only be achieved by great screenwriters and directors.
Additionally, the film is a visual masterpiece, in which action is not compromised. Dialogue is usually the last resort as emotions, body language and gestures are fully on display, almost causing ‘High Blood Pressure’ for the audience from time to time.
Nse is bankable any day whilst Adjetey is at his best, playing the role of a troubled man convincingly and eliciting empathy from the audience. Ama Ampofo (Claudia) and Mawuli Gavor (Sammy) combine good looks with commendable acting skills that it is difficult to believe that they are playing their introductory roles.
Frimpong-Manso, as the screenwriter, employs twists and turns admirably. The suspicion that Helen is cheating turns out to be that she is arranging a surprise birthday party for Ben. The fear that Helen has been poisoned by Claudia is wrong after all. Rather, the former is pregnant. The scene with the policeman, after the beating, is well thought-out. The movie’s poster and title are pregnant with meaning. Fabulous.
Helen tells Ben, ‘I have as much claim to your fidelity as you do to mine’, which is absolutely true. The society should emphasize mutual fidelity in marriage instead of condoning philandering husbands whilst punishing women for adultery. Don’t men vow to ‘forsake all others’, during the solemnization of matrimony?
There is a discernable flaw in Devil in the Detail. The natural roles played by cause and effect do not seem to add up here. Evidently, Ben is a maladjusted man, who cannot discuss his misgivings with his wife. He rather chooses to have an illicit affair with his PA.
What about Helen? Why does she cheat on her husband? Is she sexually dissatisfied? Is she forced to marry a man she does not love? Do they grow apart, though their union is obviously a very young one? Does she have a history with good-looking and/or younger men?
We neither see her friends nor hear their discussions to get inkling on the role played by peer pressure on Helen’s misstep. The film does not provide a clue to any of these questions, so why does Helen cheat on Ben?
As stated earlier, men can cheat with abandon because there is hardly any society that penalizes a man for infidelity. However, when women cheat, there is usually an underlying reason. Working late nights or working very closely with an event planner is not plausible enough!
There are three other blemishes, which are not enough to rob the film of its brilliance. One, Helen tells Sammy, ‘Both of us know what this is.’ Sammy retorts, ‘What is this?’ The correct question should have been: ‘What is it?’
Two, the movie’s flyer says, ‘A suspicious affair ruins an almost perfect marriage … in one of the craziest love triangles ever.’ No, it is ‘… in one of the craziest love quadrangles ever.’
Finally, one of the office sex scenes, involving Claudia and Ben, was not well executed.
Frimpong-Manso is set to win a couple of new awards with Devil in the Detail, an intriguing and sexy movie.
Written by Amarachukwu Iwuala