Confusion Na Wa: A Morality Tale with A Sense of Humor

By Loi Awat,

Confusion Na Wa is a twisted tale that takes us into the interconnected lives of a petty thief, an overworked underdog, an unfaithful husband, and a newspaper business owner, and the people in their lives.

When Emeka loses his phone in a scuffle on the streets, Charles – a criminal who is never up to any good – picks it up and uses it to raise some hell for other people. He first demands that Emeka buy back the phone from him, and then raises the stakes when he realizes that the phone is worth more to Emeka than they thought. Meanwhile, Bello, an overworked and underappreciated man gets into trouble at work and has an argument with his wife – while an upstanding businessman tussles with the idea that his only son may be a homosexual.

The movie takes us into an intense maze, in which the paths of these characters cross and uncross, and we end up at an unprecedented place – on the floor of a small pub lying in a pool of blood, in the trappings of an unfaithful wife, and in a whorehouse being taught about ‘manhood.’ Confusion Na Wa manages to tell an expansive story, accommodating several sub-plots – while this has the potential to feel too heavy, this movie takes us comfortably through each character’s story and tells each one well enough to matter in the bigger picture.

Confusion Na Wa manages to weave an intriguing tale while making a statement about the state of Nigeria’s morality. Babajide, a newspaper business owner and a father trying to guide his son, is constantly confronted by Nigeria’s failing morality and as an ‘upright member of society’ (as his car bumper sticker announces), he is the most bothered by it – his car is broken into twice. Charles breaks into a car, but finds that the car radio is already missing from it – and he complains that “I live in a country where you can’t steal something because someone else has stolen it!” Isabella, Bello’s wife, also mentions Nigeria’s failing morality, although she does this as a lie to cover up her own – an even stronger testament that her statement is true! The Nigerian police are also put on the spotlight for corruption and general unsatisfactory delivery of services, as are the office employees at Bello’s workplace.

We also take a few moments out of the story to explore an alternative interpretation of the Lion King. Chichi explains why he feels the Lion King is a symbol and a testament of colonialism and neo-colonialism, and it becomes a repeated theme with the characters that the criminals interact with.

A few instances of faux acting and weak contextualization are to be found in this movie. When Charles is arrested, for example, he is beaten by the police. Later in a jail cell, he is beaten again – however, he walks out of the police station with neither a scratch on his face nor a tear on his shirt. Emeka’s wife also pulls off a flat performance in her role – although this might be based more on the fact that there was not much work for her character to do in the first place, than on a lack of acting prowess.

Even then, this movie pulls together different stories into an impressive web and an exciting journey with funny bumps along the way. Babajide, for example, tries to convince his teenage son that a man is a homosexual because he threw a stone at their car window. In addition, the number of men that get slapped in this movie make it worth all the confusion – it’s some real Confusion Na Wa!

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