Film review: Hell hath no fury in Obi Emelonye’s Thy will be done

A 40 year old happily married pastor (Ramsey Nouah) has his domestic, spiritual and professional life turned upside down when a woman (Mary Njoku)shows up claiming to be his first wife, someone from a union aborted on the very night of consumation, and long considered dead and buried.

This upset does not sit too well with his present wife (Mercy Johnson Okojie), a high powered lawyer with a military background who will do anything, including murder to keep her home intact.

Thy will be done which is directed by Obi Emelonye (The Mirror boy, Last flight to Abuja) and produced by Rok studios (Njoku and her hubby, Jason) , with a script written by Tobe Osigwe boasts an intriguing enough story. One of ordinary people being forced to revaluate their lives in the midst of extraordinary circumstances.

It also tests the capacity of the human mind to love and reconcile following traumatic incidences. An added spice of ingredient is introduced as the people involved here are essentially good, born again christian folk who are expected to live a life of example.

What does a man do when faced with such circumstances? What does a man of God do? What does a woman do? When that woman is a pastor’s wife, expected by society to be above board in all spheres of life, what exactly is expected of her?

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The plot teases some of these possibilities and truth is, there is no satisfying road out of the mess. Thy will be done could have worked satisfyingly as 2 separate movies; as a drama exploring the dark conditions of the human psyche, and as a thriller, ratcheting up the excitement and camp factor.

But almost as soon as the film announces itself as a spiritual, romantic drama, what with the Bible thumping and the quick to judge church elders council, it sets up an added factor, boosted by a typically nutty Mercy Johnson performance that may set a few pulses racing but is genuinely about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Obi Emelonye whose most satisfying film was 2011’s flawed, The Mirror boy has been a bit of a slippery slide since his big screen debut.

Besides an unusually original idea and some cool cinematography, 2013’s Last Flight to Abuja didn’t really have much going for it and the purely Igbo Onye ozi could never quite rise above its minuscle budget limitations.

Still Mr Emelonye remains a magnet for picking up engaging stories. Which is surprising why he would be drawn to this pretty by the books dramedy. At it best, it throws up some exciting moments but it plays like it was written by someone who grew up on Nollywood films of the oughties and vowed to write one better.

Not nearly as fancy as it imagines itself, Thy will be done is anchored by a dependable Ramsey Nouah who gives a grounded performance as the conflicted husband/pastor. Mary Njoku makes a play for some artistic integrity here- both as an actress and producer-, as she continues to create roles for herself when no one is doing so.

Mother of two, Mercy Johnson Okojie makes her big screen return (some would say, arrival as she has never really been tested as a box office draw) and is ideally cast as the tough but slightly demented wife who unravels as she finds herself on the losing end. No one told her to let go of some of her famous mannerisms and she proceeds to ham it up the way only she knows quite how to.

While the experienced actors score pass marks, Emelonye abandons some of the supporting performers to rally by themselves. The results aren’t always great to look at.

A plot twist concerning another child is introduced somewhere and discarded almost as quickly without affording viewers the benefit of a logical explanation and Emelonye must have a special love affair for close up shots, as everyone, no matter how minor the role, gets at least one here.

Still, Thy will be done manages to get by as one of those films that isn’t half bad, yet struggles mightily to leave an impression.

You may want to take a chance.

Wilfred Okiche from @drwill20

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