The Black Book review: Formulaic film has its own strengths

The Black Book follows Paul, a man who takes justice into his own hands after his innocent son is killed by the corrupt police force and a gang that he was involved with in the past. The film is now streaming on Netflix.


Professor Stella Craig, the director general of the Nigeria Energy & Oil Company, has been courageously fighting corruption. When she starts looking into a particular case, her husband and child are kidnapped and killed.

The police catch one of the kidnappers, but they release him when they find out that he is a senator’s son and claim that the criminal has escaped police custody. They then kill Damilola, a man who resembles the kidnapper, and frame him for the kidnapping.

A journalist named Victoria gets wind of this case and offers to help Damilola’s father, Paul, uncover the truth of his son’s death. Paul refuses to work with Victoria, but Victoria is persistent. She is ready to take risks and expose the criminal activities of the people who are behind Damilola’s murder.

Before Paul became a deacon, he used to be one of the most dangerous men in the country. His son’s death forces Paul to take on not just the powerful people from his past but also the entire police force. Will Paul be able to prove his son’s innocence, or will he lose his life in the process?


Richard Mofe-Damijo plays Paul, and he convinces the audience that Paul is not even capable of hurting a fly. Later, when Paul has to go back to his old ways, the actor makes him look like a skilled assassin. However, he retains Paul’s gentleness even then.

While Alex Usifo Omiagbo gives an adequate performance, Ade Laoye’s acting is exaggerated. On the other hand, Shaffy Bello depicts Big Daddy as a powerful, poised woman. Her performance makes the audience wish to see more of her.


The film does a good job of portraying the social issues that plague Nigerian society. The voices of honest and law-abiding people go unheard when the police, the government, and even the media are corrupt. General Issa’s final monologue about a liberal society will hit the audience hard.

Furthermore, the society’s portrayal is realistic, as people like Stella Craig, who fight for justice, do not get a happy ending. Instead, they lose their families and everything else that they value. It is this bitter truth that impacts the audience the most.

There are some scenes, like Damilola’s murder, that are hard to watch because the film keeps reminding the audience that is not fiction but fiction that has been inspired by reality. On top of that, in real life, people like Damilola do not have fathers like Paul proving their innocence.

The music in the film certainly elevates the impactful scenes. This is most evident when Paul sees his son’s body. His grief and the music make for a heartbreaking scene.


While the film initially manages to portray the dark reality, it later becomes just as unrealistic. It does not take the audience long to realize that since Paul is the hero, he will succeed no matter the circumstances.

The film is not very different from most other films in which the hero takes matters into his own hands to see that justice is done. It is predictable because it follows the same formula.

The film is also quite dense. It is overstuffed with plot devices, and most of them do not serve any purpose. Additionally, the past is revealed bit by bit, and due to that, there is a lack of clarity about certain plot devices.


The Black Book takes important social issues and emphasizes them very well. However, when it comes to the other aspects, the film is unexceptional.

The Black Book
The Black Book review: Formulaic film has its own strengths 1

Director: Editi Effiong

Date Created: 2023-09-22 19:49

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The Black Book summary and ending explained

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