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Movie Review: RMD Shines as Nigeria’s John Wick in 'The Black Book' - A Game-Changer for Nollywood

The Black Book

By now, you've probably heard about "The Black Book"? The Nollywood thriller everyone's been talking about? With a million-dollar budget and tech CEOs throwing their weight behind it, this movie promised to be a game-changer. But did it deliver? Let's find out.

The Plot: A Roller Coaster or a Flatline?

The movie kicks off with a bang—literally. We're introduced to Paul Edima, our Nigerian version of Keanu Reeves' John Wick, a deacon with a dark past, masterfully portrayed by the iconic Richard Mofe-Damijo. When his son, Damilola gets framed for kidnapping the CEO's baby.

The main plot revolves around Paul Edima's quest to clear his son David's name. It is intense and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The scenes where Paul teams up with Victoria, the journalist played by Ade Laoye, are some of the most engaging. Their chemistry is electric, and you can feel the urgency in their mission.

However, the subplot involving the CEO of the Nigeria Energy & Oil Company and her family feels disconnected. It's like two different movies were mashed into one. And let's not forget the black book itself. It's supposed to be this big reveal, but it ends up being more of a plot device than a game-changer.

The film also suffers from what can be described as "Nollywood Syndrome" — melodramatic performances and dialogues that sometimes pull you out of the experience. It's not a deal-breaker, but it's noticeable.

Characters: A Mixed Bag of Brilliance and Blunders

The film boasts an ensemble cast that's a blend of Nollywood veterans and fresh faces. Richard Mofe-Damijo's portrayal of Paul Edima is nothing short of captivating. He brings a certain gravitas to the role that only a seasoned actor like him could.You can see the torment in his eyes, especially in the scene where he confronts General Issa, played by Alex Usifo, about his son's wrongful accusation. RMD's performance is so compelling that it almost makes you forget about the movie's flaws.

Then there's Olumide Oworu, who plays Damilola, Paul's son. Oworu delivers a performance that's raw and relatable, making you root for him even when the script doesn't.

The character of Victoria, played by Ade Laoye, starts off strong but somehow gets lost in the shuffle. She's introduced as this fearless journalist, but her character arc doesn't get the closure it deserves. It's like the writers didn't know what to do with her after a point.

But let's talk about the woman in power at the Nigeria Energy & Oil Company, played by Bimbo Akintola. She starts off as a beacon of hope, fighting for the little guy, but her character arc feels somewhat rushed and underdeveloped.

And taking into account General Issa’s performance, the menacing villain played by Alex Usifo Omiagbo. He's the guy you love to hate, but sometimes it feels like he's evil just for the sake of being evil. There's a lack of depth that leaves you wanting more.

With rumors of a sequel in the works, one can only hope that characters like Sam Dede as Angel, Kelechi Udegbe as Officer Abayomi, Shaffy Bello as Big Daddy, Iretiola Doyle as Commissioner, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett as Editor. will be given the depth and development they deserve in the next installment.

Sound and Score: A Rollercoaster of Emotions

The film's soundtrack is a curious blend of traditional Nigerian music and modern beats, aiming to bridge the generational gap between the old and new Nollywood. While the music is generally well-selected, it sometimes feels overpowering, drowning out dialogues and key moments in the film. This is especially noticeable in the scene where Paul confronts General Issa. The tension is palpable, but the background score almost sabotages the moment.

Sound effects are another area where the film could improve. The gunshots and explosions often sound artificial, pulling the audience out of the immersive experience. However, the film does get it right in quieter moments. The subtle use of ambient sounds, like the distant chatter of a Lagos market or the waves crashing at Tarkwa Bay, adds depth to the scenes.

Conclusion: A Rollercoaster with Ups and Downs

"The Black Book" is a film that tries to tackle a lot but falls short in its execution.The first half sets up an intriguing premise but fails to deliver a satisfying payoff, leaving the audience wanting more.

The film's unique selling point is its tech-savvy production team and the involvement of various industry leaders, which adds a modern touch to Nollywood's traditional storytelling. However, this alone can't save the movie from its shortcomings.

Despite its flaws, "The Black Book" is a step in the right direction for Nollywood, showing that the industry is willing to take risks and venture into uncharted territories. It's not a must-watch, but if you're in the mood for a Nigerian thriller with a tech twist, give it a go. Just don't expect to be blown away.

So, is "The Black Book" worth your time? If you're a fan of Nollywood, a fan of the John Wick series or interested in the evolving landscape of African cinema, it might be worth a watch.

Currently on the number one spot on Nigerian Netflix list and hitting number 4 worldwide, a lot of people obviously find it a good watch.

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1 Comment

David Tolani
David Tolani
Oct 10, 2023

The killer that turns pastor then pastor turn killer, the revenge vibe and the killer instinct with the action figure combination of an emotional feels.

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