The much-anticipated mystery and crime thriller, “The Black Book,” masterfully crafted by Editi Effiong and Anakle Films was released on Netflix just yesterday, September 22nd. The movie unfolds a narrative where past debts resurface, propelling a father’s relentless pursuit of justice after corrupt policemen claim his son’s life.
Under the expert direction and production of Editi Effiong, this movie boasts an ensemble cast that includes acclaimed actors Richard Mofe-Damijo and Ade Laoye as the principal leads. With the likes of Sam Dede, Alex Usifo Omiagbo, Olumide Oworu, Shaffy Bello, Ireti Doyle, Taiwo Ajayi Lycett, Ikechukwu Onunaku, Patric Doyle, Bimbo Manuel, Femi Branch, Denola Grey, Kelechi Udegbe, Nobert Young, and more gracing the screen, the sheer star power alone sets the movie on a high pedestal.
The Engaging Plot
“The Black Book” weaves a gripping narrative around Deacon Paul Edima, portrayed by the Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD), who embarks on a relentless quest for justice when his son, played by Olumide Oworu, falls victim to a wrongful accusation and the deadly actions of corrupt officers of the law who kills him. Little do they know that Mr. Edima, the father of the boy killed was once a formidable figure in the shady world, who is now a man of faith and reprieve.
To unveil the layers of corruption and injustice meted to him through the unlawful killing of his son by these corrupt police, Mr. Edima decides to take justice into his own hands, mobilizes his resources, aided by a tenacious journalist determined to expose the truth.
However, the stakes escalate as the corrupt elites see Mr. Edima as a formidable threat, driven by his possession of a mysterious book that could topple their empire. With the Commissioner of Police, portrayed by the talented Ireti Doyle, leading the charge against Mr. Edima, the stage is set for a gripping showdown where justice hangs in the balance.
Will Paul Edima get justice for his son? Will the Police get Paul Edima? Will the Black Book get into the right hands? You should head on to Netflix to find out.
Language and Setting
The film’s multilayered narrative is delivered through a linguistic tapestry that encompasses English, Nigerian Pidgin English, and Yoruba. This strategic use of language expertly mirrors the geographical diversity and societal complexities depicted in the storyline.
From the use of Pidgin English in remote areas to the seamless blend of English and Yoruba in urban settings, the linguistic choices contribute to the movie’s authenticity.
Additionally, the film’s setting transitions between Lagos and Kaduna, offering viewers a refreshing departure from conventional Nollywood aesthetics and infusing a Hollywood-like vibe.
Exceptional Performances by the Cast
The standout feature of “The Black Book” lies in the performances of its cast. Richard Mofe Damijo’s portrayal of Paul Edima is nothing short of mesmerizing, almost akin to Liam Neeson in his pursuit of justice as we see a father going after the bad guys to get justice for his son and freedom for the journalist. Almost!
Shaffy Bello takes on the character of ‘Big Daddy’ with an ineffable grace and sass, as usual, commanding the screen with her presence. Her character’s militia assemble, consisting of unassuming Muslim women with formidable marksmanship skills, challenges gender norms and underscores the message of female empowerment clearly echoed in the scene where she said “I am a woman, you do not control me”
Thrilling Action Sequences
The movie delivers adrenaline-pumping action sequences and well choreographed fight scenes that keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The use of weapons, explosives, and firearms adds an extra layer of intensity to every moment, ensuring a pulse-pounding viewing experience from start to finish.
Intriguing Storyline and Themes
“The Black Book” masterfully navigates multiple themes, most notably the pervasive issue of corruption within the Nigerian militia and law enforcement systems. It sheds light on the harrowing consequences faced by innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of corrupt practices.
The film advocates for thorough investigations and the pursuit of justice against corrupt leaders, whether in politics, the militia, or any realm connected to corruption.
Additionally, it champions the role of journalists and the masses in exposing oppression and underscores the importance of speaking out against injustice.
The film also boldly explores themes of feminine power, pitting women fighters against their male counterparts. Shaffy Bello’s character, ‘Big Daddy,’ challenges traditional gender roles and emphasizes that women cannot be controlled. The patriarchal and matriarchal power struggle within patriarchal Africa is exemplified through her character.
Cinematography in “The Black Book”
The cinematography in “The Black Book” effectively complements the film’s narrative and thematic elements. It successfully captures the geographical diversity, intensifies action sequences, and conveys the emotions and tensions within each scene.
The film is set in both Lagos and Kaduna, and the cinematography beautifully captures the essence of these locations. From the bustling streets of Lagos to the more serene landscapes of Kaduna, the visuals transport viewers to these distinct settings, providing a visual backdrop that enriches the storytelling.
The Black Book” boasts thrilling action sequences, and the cinematography excels in capturing the intensity of these moments. Whether it’s hand-to-hand combat, gunfights, or explosions, the camera work ensures that viewers are fully immersed in the action.
The film’s use of lighting is notable, particularly in scenes with low-light conditions. While some night-time fight scenes may appear dimly lit, this choice adds to the gritty and suspenseful atmosphere of these sequences. The contrast between light and shadow contributes to the film’s overall aesthetic.
In conclusion, “The Black Book” is not merely a cinematic experience; it’s a thought-provoking journey into a world where corruption meets unwavering determination. Its well-crafted storyline, use of language, attention to detail with props and costumes, and captivating cinematography all culminate in a compelling narrative that resonates.
With its rich thematic depth, the film emerges as an entertaining and educational piece, urging viewers to confront injustice and corruption head-on and I recommend “The Black Book” to audiences of all backgrounds.
The movie “The Black Book” earns an 8/10 rating from this reviewer.