By Fidelis Duker

THE BLACK BOOK: A Brilliant Effort Showcasing the Diversity of Nigerian Cinema

I recently had the chance to watch “The Black Book” directed by Editi Effiong, and I must admit that it was a good watch, showing the brilliant efforts of the filmmaker. The casting was top-notch, with Richard Richard Rmd Mofe-Damijo delivering an exceptional performance as Edima. Bimbo Akintola was equally impressive in her role as Prof Craig, and Sam Dede did not disappoint as Angel. Demola Crey’s cameo was beautiful, and Ade Laoye’s portrayal of a journalist was commendable. Overall, the casting was well done, bringing life to their respective characters.

Cinematography, handled by Yinka Edward, was exceptionally brilliant, with the use of wide shots and frame composition that prove Edward’s mastery in this department. His work in showcasing the scenes was undoubtedly one of the film’s highlights. Pat Nebo’s production and scenic design were evident throughout the movie, leaving a bittersweet realization that Nollywood will miss Nebo’s craftsmanship in production design.

The use of the flashback technique by Editi Effiong is commendable, as it adds depth to the story by merging the present and the past. Effiong’s style and storytelling approach can be appreciated in this aspect. However, my concern lies with the screenplay and plot. The plots were not well developed, and some scenes seemed unrealistic. For instance, when Paul Edima walks into a police station demanding a case file or when he visits a mortuary and demands his son’s corpse without proper authorization. Such weak and unbelievable plots detracted from the overall quality of the film.

The star-studded cast comprising of Taiwo Ajai-Lycett , Ireti Doyle, Ade Laoye, Bimbo Manuel , and the comeback of Alex Osifo Omiagbo after several years away from Nollywood deserve special mention. Their performances added depth to the movie. Additionally, the film’s management of crowd scenes in the market and the utilization of different locations in Lagos and Kaduna showcased the cultural diversity and beauty of Nigeria.

Character development also posed a challenge for the writer. The initial plot regarding Edima’s motivation to bring down Issa’s cartel and seek justice for his son’s murder suddenly shifts to Vic’s kidnapping. This discrepancy in plot development creates a conflict for the audience. Similarly, the female mercenaries working for Big Daddy lacked substantial character development, diminishing their impact on the overall story. While there were beautiful lines and dialogues scattered throughout the screenplay, such as Big Daddy’s “share the groundnuts” line, the plot’s weak development overshadowed these memorable moments.

The costumes were used effectively within the context of the production design, complementing the overall feel of the film. However, the stunt choreography in the fight scenes was clumsily executed, failing to live up to the intensity and excitement that should accompany such moments.

Despite its flaws, “The Black Book” stands as an excellent film from Nollywood, serving as a testament to the capabilities of Nigerian filmmakers. This movie showcases the country’s diverse cultural heritage and beauty to the world of cinema, proving that Nigerian filmmakers have a lot to offer on the global stage.

In all, I will score the film 70% …..congratulations to the filmmakers as there can never be a perfect film.

Fidelis Duker is a Filmmaker/Media Practitioner and writes from Calabar

By osibanews

Eliel Otote A is an Actor and Filmmaker, with a bias for journalism. He was a freelance feature writer with the Nigerian Observer in the 80's in Benin City, he also presented programmes on both radio and television. Eliel is the Editor and Publisher of OSIBAnews Network Magazine, of which this blog is an affiliate.

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