Yinka Olatunbosun writes that the pulsating crime movie produced by Ego Boyo and directed by Akin Omotosho, titled“The Ghost and the House of Truth” is all shades of motherhood and a cry for justice
Indeed, it is a very painful and torturous experience for any mother to return home and discover that her only child is missing. This is the story told in the movie, “The Ghost and the House of Truth”, which features Nollywood’s screen goddess, Kate Henshaw in the lead role of Inspector FolasadeAdetola otherwise known as Stainless.
The pregnant police officer is on the quest of finding the lost child, Nike who usually returns home from school without trouble. Uncle Joe (Toyin Oshinaike) is a level-headed commercial bus driver who has been contracted to drop off Nike(Imole-Ayo Olusanya) and two other children every day of the week.
Nike’s mother, Bola Ogun (brit actress, Susan Wokoma) is a social worker and counsellor at a non-governmental organisation who usually returns home quite late which is understandably normal for a working-class mother in a big city like Lagos where the movie is set. Usually, Nike waits at her friend’s house where her mother stops by on the way to their house.
Then the tragedy strikes. Nike is missing. Her mother embarks on a frantic search and then promptly reports to the police. In her desperation, she offers the self-respecting Stainless a large tip just to ensure the search is seriously executed. Stainless rejected the offer with a promise to find Nike. Finally, Nike is found dead and the autopsy report shows that she had been sexually assaulted and murdered. This sent some chills in the audience at the cinema who travelled through the fast-paced, suspense-filled drama to uncover the identity of the culprit. The suspects all seemed culpable. Uncle Joe has a history of being a child offender; the last man seen with Nike claimed he offered her a ride with no evil intention but his countenance contrasted his claim and his lies about his whereabouts that fateful evening of Nike’s disappearance cast some doubts on his alibi.
The movie, which had its world premiere in New York at the Urban World Film Festival won the Jury award for Best Narrative Feature World Cinema. It was the closing flick at the 2019 African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) won three awards at the AFRIFF Globe Awards. Best Actress (Kate Henshaw) Best Director (Akin Omotoso) and Best Nigerian Film.
Call it a whistle-blower on the Nigerian criminal justice system where a DNA test result can take as much as three months to be obtained, it’s a movie that speaks the truth about the reality of raising the girl-child in a city as a single mother. A moral question is also raised in the resolution of the conflict which presents the viewer with the dilemma of choosing between waiting patiently for state justice that may never come or taking justice into one’s hand.
This one hour 15minutes movie domesticates action scenes using atypical African setting with a conscious effort to highlight the strength of a woman through a pregnant policewoman. Shot at Makoko, a less-privileged community, Stainless locates the culprit with the assistant of a young canoe paddler who helped to pursue the culprit. The chase itself underlines the role of community involvement in crime fighting. A Temple Productions movie, “The Ghost and the House of Truth” is a powerful cinematic statement on social realities such as child endangerment, sexual violence and the search for justice. It is a succession to the earlier collaborative movie, an experimental one titled “A Hotel Called Memory.”