While You Slept
ROYAL ARTS ACADEMY
Story by Kehinde Joseph
Editor – Uche Alexmoore
Producers – Ini Edo and Emem Isong
Director – Desmond Elliot
Trailer – While You Slept
Rating – 5/10
Reviewed By – Vivian Nappier
“While You Slept” is a drama from Royal Arts Academy. Produced by Ini Edo and Emem Isong, Directed by Desmond Elliot and Written by Kehinde Joseph.
The movie is about a young woman’s journey to unveiling the truth about her husband and his secret family after his sudden death. The movie stars Ini Edo, Joseph Benjamin, and Venita Akpofure.
Kim (Ini Edo) and Emeka (Big Tony) are having a fun-filled afternoon at home when Emeka suddenly starts convulsing. He dies shortly after arriving at the hospital. At the funeral, his parents are disappointed that no kids were procreated from the 10 years of marriage and a woman watches from a short distance.
One year later, Kim receives a call from a stranger for a meeting; the stranger, Najite (Venita Akpofure) turns out to be the secret wife to her husband who claims she has a son for him. She provides evidence of marriage photos and certificates to back up her claim.
Kim goes into a crazy spiral, and vents her frustration at the gym. She befriends the gym owner, Tega (Joseph Benjamin) and both slowly starts to heal as suspicion increases with Kim wanting to know what Najite was really up to.
Najite warms her way into Emeka’s family; together they back her claims up and demand that Kim let Najite and her son stay in her home as he belongs to Emeka. Najite with the assistance of her lawyer, works her way into taking over the company which leads to a physical argument between Kim and Najite. Kim is eventually arrested and taken to a psych ward in exchange for Najite not pressing charges on Kim attacks.
With the help of Tega, Kim escapes from the psych ward and takes temporary residence at Tega’s home. Together, they go to Najite’s home and search endlessly for clues. They discover an old photo of Najite in college, alongside Emeka and another man Gino (Bobby Michaels).
Gino who is a movie producer, is paid a visit by Tega and Kim but is reluctant to discuss with them. With a false kidnapping scam with his lead actress, Amah (Onyinye Udeze), Gino eventually opens up about Najite.
Kim decides to lure Najite into a trap by gaining her friendship and lying to her about Emeka having other properties around Lagos. She invites Najite to a viewing of Emeka’s property file and then unveils her discovery of who Najite truly is. It is revealed that Najite was never married to Emeka and all documents provided were from a movie they both starred in, which was produced by Gino. Najite was in a relationship with Gino which ended due to her obsession with Emeka. Upset, Najite confesses to killing Emeka and she is eventually arrested.
The movie was ridiculously long at 2 hours and could easily be reduced to 1 hour of movie time.
The acting overall was a bit over the top, especially with the character played by Ini Edo. It was a screaming battle most of the time which in return made it nearly impossible to understand anything. The sound could be better as well as the editing.
The story was very unrealistic, especially in this modern-day and age. More research would have been appreciated as to rights of citizens, family and will. Also the story with Kim’s lawyer was very inconsistent and weak. It was beyond ridiculous to watch the lawyer accept a deal from Najite to plead her client crazy in order for Najite to not press charges.
Honestly, the moves made by Najite and her lawyer were mostly illegal which means they couldn’t even press an authentic charge because quite frankly, the marriage would not be seen legal as Emeka was already legally married, which would make the marriage annulled.
Considering it was NOT a real marriage, the lawyers would have noticed that from the beginning due to the falsified documents and won’t stand by Najite. Kim’s lawyer would have observed all of that from the beginning and there would never have been a case.
Also, how do you consider someone crazy and sentenced to a psych ward if no psych evaluation was carried out? What was the ruling and was there a doctor present? I didn’t see the importance of that particular story incorporated into the movie.
I am still trying to know the name of what Najite slipped into Emeka’s drink. After listening 3 times in a role, I am most certain it was Cardiac Pump. Although extremely embarrassed if it is what she said because that is not a drug that you can slip into a drink.
Also still makes no sense because Najite said Emeka was in Jos when she slipped it into his drink but based on the beginning of the movie, this was never established. It was all a montage of the couple in lagos, carrying out a daily routine and Emeka dying in the bedroom as Kim walked in with breakfast.
In a movie, when the face of the villain is hidden in most of the scenes, the revelation should have a dramatic moment. In “While You Slept”, Najite’s face was hidden and revealed in the most disappointing way of Cinema history, by walking to take a sit with her son in Kim’s home and admiring the place.
The dialogues of Abortion was honestly not needed, no point to it. If you can’t relate the visual to the statement then take it out. A woman can have an abortion without being mischievous or wayward. There are a million reasons why women chose to have abortions and I am tired of seeing majority of our productions stick to the story of the woman being careless with numerous men and getting pregnant, resulting in an abortion.
With more research and story structure, I feel the movie would have been better.
Great acting from Joseph Benjamin, he really portrayed the caring and supporting character properly and was very believable.
Ini Edo although good, really needs to tone it down on the screaming and dramatic phrases and laughs. I couldn’t take the ending scene serious after she had an evil laugh moment of victory.
Venita Akpofure is one of the new faces in Nollywood, I actually enjoyed watching her although I couldn’t tell which accent to actually believe as she kept going back and forth with her Nigerian accent and some sort of western accent.
Emem Isong and Desmond Elliot obviously work great together. The directing and editing although had an easy flow for understanding, could use some extra work. The ending had a lot of flops to it and came off more comedic than emotional. Some scenes were over dramatized and the editing was sometimes too painful to watch.
I am a bit confused on the mission of Royal Academy and sometimes left wondering if it is a real vocational college or a pseudonym for Emem Isong and Desmond Elliot collaboration… why? Because every production out of Royal Academy has been produced by Emem Isong, directed by Desmond Elliot, mostly edited by Uche Alexmoore and has only starred famous and regular Nollywood actors and actresses. Royal Arts Academy is also sometimes listed as a Production Company, especially with the movie “Holding Hope”.
Don’t get me wrong, I am proud that it exists and every production out of it has been better than most Nollywood movies BUT the concept behind it all makes me wonder, if it is really a Film and Acting School and the outcome so far from graduates. Why are the acting students not featured in any of the productions? Are films or productions made from the real students and not the owners/co-founders? I am slightly confused on how it operates.
Overall, it was good for a one time watch, if you have more than enough patience to sit and watch an entertaining, endless repetitive movie.