Sunday, March 18, 2012

Interesting Review: A Critical Look At Uche Jombo’s Movie ‘Damaged’

Source - TheNEtNG.. ‘It all happened over a period of time. Taiwo and Sarah had been married for some time. At first things seemed like a romantic fairytale with the handsome and charming ‘prince’ Taiwo and his beautiful, fun loving wife ‘princess’ Sarah seem to be living a ‘happily ever after life’.

However as the days passed on Sarah grew distant from the family, spending more time away from them because she has a secret and some things to hide. The once outgoing Sarah soon lost interest in the things she liked, becoming all secretive and moody. To top it all there was Sarah’s constant denial to her friends and loved ones that there was something wrong between the couple. So what is it that changed this relationship and the lives of the happy couple?

In Uche Jumbo and Moses Inwang’s Damaged; Sarah (Uche Jombo) is a housewife who, throughout her marriage, suffered horrendous abuse at
the hands of her husband. Damaged begins perfectly, it presents Sarah (Uche Jombo) and her husband Taiwo (Kalu Ikeagwu) as a perfect high socialite
couple to the world. On their way to receive the ‘couple of the year award’, in a flashback while in the limousine we really get to see the real Ajayis and how they truly live when the cameras stop rolling and all the glamor is gone.
We see Sarah fight her husband Taiwo as the children look on, they see their mother get emotionally, physically and verbally abused by someone who promised to love and protect them ……their father.
Taiwo’s stormy, violent relationship with his long-abused wife continues, things get thrown around, glasses get broken and their son JT (Hammond Ozapkolor) starts to get in trouble at school. JT has anger management problem and the headmaster (Alex Anyalogu) calls for a principal-parent conference, and again it wasn’t long before he understood where JT’s rage and anger came from as both parents display their angers against one another as the Headmaster looks on.
The deeper, more painful side of her experience remains unexpressed, except through the wounds and bruises on her and that is when Sarah’s brother Jude tries to intervene and again like many battered wives, Sarah continues to make excuses for her violent husband Taiwo and believed his apologies, also that he loves her and gave him more chances, long after she should have left him.
Sarah suffered years of vicious beatings and other indignities. It took vast reserves of courage for her to fight back.

Sarah played by Uche Jombo, who transforms herself memorably into the kind of convincing battered woman. She played her role well and possibly her best performance to date.

The brilliant, mercurial portrayal of Taiwo by Kalu Ikeagwu is what elevates Damaged beyond the realm of run-of-the-mill Nollywood movie. First seen as a sinuous charmer handsome man, Mr. Ikeagwu’s Taiwo leaves no doubt as to how he was able to hold Sarah in such thrall.

Even at his most embittered and dangerous, Taiwo never forgets to try and look his best as a self-proclaimed ‘Hard’ working man.

Mr. Ikeagwu finds something unexpectedly moving in Taiwo’s decline, despite the terrible effect his problems had on his wife. Under the influence of alcohol, Taiwo becomes a desperate, jive-talking mess, venting his jealousy of Sarah’s family success in excruciating ways.

The police officer played by Mr. Patrick was funny. I know of the American soldiers as the G.I.s (Government Issued). Here we have a Nigerian version, when the police officer who was been assaulted by Taiwo referred to himself as Government Property I guess GP.

Tonto Dikeh has a minor role as Dorothy who is Taiwo’s little sister on drug. Her role is so minor that is hard to access her performance, unless there is more to the story in the future. I am not suggesting a sequel to this movie, why damage a perfectly good movie directed by Moses Inwang who also directed Chelsea and Nollywood Hustler among others; screenplay by Uche Jumbo; edited by Inwang; music by MI / Flavor, Kome Jones & Sneeze/Gino; produced by Jombo, Inwang & Shoniki; Running time 125 minutes.

Technically speaking; the picture, audio, editing quality is great and music scores are appropriate for this type of movie.

Just as in most violent and abusive relationships Taiwo and Sarah did not understand that their frequent fights and vice that intoxicated them somehow damaged them as badly as it hurt those around them, especially the children. Dami (Nicoletta Ndigwe) and JT (Hammond Ozapkolor)
People in an abusive relationship often ask themselves as to whether they are suffering from abuse. This is because not many of us understand the true meaning of abuse and the facts about abusive relationships. Most of them mistake the abuse for intense feelings of caring or concern. For example, it can even seem flattering to think of a friend whose boyfriend or girlfriend is insanely jealous which might indicate that they really care. However, what people fail to understand is excessive jealousy and a controlling behavior is not signs of affection at all. Love in any healthy relationship involves respect and trust and not about constantly worrying about the possible end of the relationship.

It is difficult to define abusive relationships because they relate not just to your spouses and partners but can also extend to a colleague, a neighbor, an employee, an employer, a past or present spouse or children. However, the basis of any relationship abuse lies in the means to extend power and control over a person.

This can be any form be it physical, verbal or psychological. Here are the warning signs that you may be in an abusive relationship:
* Jealousy or possessiveness.
* Tries to exert control by being bossy or demanding.
* Makes decisions without consulting a partner. In such a case the submissive partner is expected to obey without question and has no say in the matter.
* Isolating the person from friends and family.
* Public humiliation, name calling and insults.
* Criticism about actions, size and appearance, and abilities.
* Violent or loses his or her temper quickly.
* Threats and intimidation.
* Physical abuse which may include hitting, choking, kicking, throwing things or any unwanted physical contact, especially that which harms you.
* Sexual pressures and demands for sexual activities that the person is not comfortable with.
* Holding the submissive partner responsible for his or her emotional state.
* Placing the blames for mistreating the person.
* Worry about the reaction by the abuser to the things said.
* Leaving and then returning to the abusive partner repeatedly, against the advice of your friends, family and loved ones.
* Trouble ending the relationship.
* Use the children for control for example, threatening to take them if the relationship ends.

The question on a lot of people’s minds is; why do women stay in abusive relationships? Why put yourself through years of misery, when you can live life without having to look back over your shoulder and regret a choice well made? Let’s take a look at why women compromise on being happy…Many women get into relationships that are abusive in nature, because the men they’re with only brought forth their true colors as time elapsed. Innocuous in the beginning, men can switch from charming to lethal in a matter of seconds.

Women convince themselves to stay put in abusive relationships because, of the hope that he will change, for security and companionship, financial support, emotional attachment, being threatened and for the sake of the children when some are involved.

Children react to their environment in different ways, and reactions can vary depending on the child’s gender and age.

Children exposed to family violence are more likely to develop social, emotional, psychological and or behavioral problems than those who are not. Recent research indicates that children who witness domestic violence show more anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, anger and temperament problems than children who do not witness violence in the home. The trauma they experience can show up in emotional, behavioral, social and physical disturbances that effect their development and can continue into adulthood.

Some potential effects on children:
* Grief for family and personal losses.
* Shame, guilt, and self-blame.
* Confusion about conflicting feelings toward parents.
* Fear of abandonment, or expressing emotions, the unknown or personal injury.
* Anger.
* Depression and feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.
* Embarrassment.

* Acting out or withdrawing.
* Aggressive or passive.
* Refusing to go to school.
* Care taking; acting as a parent substitute.
* Lying to avoid confrontation.
* Rigid defenses.
* Excessive attention seeking.
* Bedwetting and nightmares.
* Out of control behavior.
* Reduced intellectual competency.
* Manipulation, dependency, mood swings.

* Isolation from friends and relatives.
* Stormy relationships.
* Difficulty in trusting, especially adults.
* Poor anger management and problem solving skills.
* Excessive social involvement to avoid home.
* Passivity with peers or bullying.
* Engaged in exploitative relationships as perpetrator or victim.

* Somatic complaints, headaches and stomachaches.
* Nervous, anxious, short attention span.
* Tired and lethargic.
* Frequently ill.
* Poor personal hygiene.
* Regression in development.
* High risk play.
* Self-Abuse

Here are some statistics about gender based abuse:
Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way, most often by someone she knows, including by her husband or another male family member; one woman in four has been abused during pregnancy.

Psychological abuse almost always accompanies physical abuse. In addition, one third to one half of all cases involves sexual abuse. A high proportion of women who are beaten are subjected to violence repeatedly.

Now if you have read this far you must by now know how I feel about this movie. I don’t like it, I LOVE IT. Uche Jombo has creatively used her movie Damaged to bring to the attention of Africans the issue of the ‘black eyed beast’ called domestic violence, without the movie being boring or just violent or failing to entertain. Damaged will entertain and educate you. Uche Jumbo is pressing the right buttons with this movie and they are wired to all our senses. The conclusion of the movie Damaged is also flawless and there is more to this movie and you need to see it if; you are in a relationship or hope to be in one someday.

Damaged is rated R, meaning anyone under 18 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. It includes violence, profanity and sexual situations. This is how I would describe the movie Damaged; Brilliant, Spell bounding, Original masterpiece, Angry; Nerve wreaking, Energetic and one of the best movies out of Nollywood to date. BUY IT

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