‘The Black Book’ review: Richard Mofe-Damijo’s struggle over lynched son resonates with #JusticeforMohbad

The Black Book is the perfect movie for Nigerians seeking justice for late singer, Mohbad as the film highlights Richard Mofe-Damijo’s (Edima) battle with the underworld over his murdered son, Damilola Edima (Olumide Oworu).

The narrative strikes a chord with the audience and sheds light on the pervasive corruption problems in Nigerian society as Editi Effiong treats Nollywood lovers to a Hollywood-esque movie.

The Black Book, with its artistic glitz, walks in and takes its place amid Nollywood’s best in 2023.

As the socio-political clime in Nigeria is a theatre, justice is the song on all masses’ lips. It does not come in free rhyme. It is punctuated by gasps of emotional revenge and lynch. At the moment when the clime in Nigeria is not sane, movie lovers can sing the songs of Richard Mofe-Damijo, which releases a storyline that will incorporate into their thoughts.

Casting a line-up of talented actors such as Richard Mofe-Damijo himself, Sam Dede, Alex Osifo, Iretiola Doyle, Patrick Doyle, Femi Branch, Olumide Oworu, Bimbo Manuel, Boki Ofodile, Nobert Young, Shaffy Bello among others, A Black Book traces the inevitable scourge of corruption among top officials of oil and gas in the metropolitan city of Lagos and Kaduna. Alongside unknotting the puzzle of the question on corruption, the story drags along the fate of a hitman-turned-deacon whose past woes come haunting him.

The Black Book opens up its plot via the death of the husband and infant of Professor Craig (Bimbo Akintola), the CEO of the Nigeria Energy & Oil Company, who is unfortunate to be on the receiving end of a counter-attack for revealing dark secrets of corruption in the ministry.

To avert further investigation, the plotters pin the kidnap and death on an innocent Damilola Edima (Olumide Oworu), son of Paul Edima(Richard Mofe-Damijo) who was formerly part of the kingpin gang that traded in drug trafficking. Paul had left the group, gone low, and handed a black book to the General after a rift.

In order to avenge his son’s death, Paul abandons his deaconship, goes after the mastermind and former boss, General Issa (Alex Usifo). He eventually wins and retrieves the black book.

Thematic Allure
A Black Book goes back into history to fish out an important chapter in the influence of power. The history — a General of a nation’s armed force peddling hard drugs — does affirm that some people are above the law, quite unfortunately. General Issa builds a strong empire of young officers who peddle hard drugs for him and take away anyone who tries to stop him. This opens the twist of Victoria’s mother, an investigative journalist, who is killed by Paul Edima.

It turns out well that the flashbacks consolidate the present. Inevitably. Paul’s deaconship does not stop his past from haunting him. The same man who ordered him to kill an investigative journalist, albeit inadvertently, uses his son as a sacrificial lamb for a murder criminal. This shows an extent to the dirty, long wand of political power. First, it’s Professor Craig’s infant and husband. Then again, it’s innocent Damilola.

Realistically, the movie does not fail to acknowledge the truth that Paul is not only fighting General Issa but also the few corrupt Police corps and media houses, which are relatively tools in politicians’ devilish workshop.

Cinematographic Allure
The character of Richard Mofe-Damijo as Paul, alongside storyline, effects and other paraphernalia of graphics, might make one remember the character of famous Hollywood John Wick. The producer of the movie deserves an accolade for giving the movie a perfect cinematography that incorporates The Black Book as an “action” movie.

Actions (stunts, shotgun duel, bomb blasts, vehicle chase) might be exaggerated but still delivered the message. Costumes, lightings, and effects – all shot in nice camera angles – are perfect.

The Black Book does have a few flaws. While casting can be complimented, it seems to have created loads of headaches for producers to film a balanced plot. In other words, the appearance of popular faces might have pushed producers to use a stone to kill a flight of birds.

As the movie drags to its end, the plot appears to lose precision. Paul is on a mission to avenge his son’s death but finds himself looking to protect Victoria, the daughter of the investigative journalist whom he killed during his hit days.

The introduction of Hijabi women with sophisticated rifles and a bunch of armed men in vans is chaotic. It creates a question of “how come” as it seems they are a band of terrorists. This makes one wonder if Paul truly repented of his sins or faked it.

However, it takes a 7/10.

Vanguard News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *