• Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Nollywood veterans shine in Editi Effiong’s Netflix film


In Editi Effiong’s Netflix film ‘The Black Book,’ the powerful opening monologue, “You must feel no guilt in doing what you have to do… The past must die to truly serve the future,” serves as a thematic thread that runs through the movie’s narrative. However, it provides a contrast to the filmmaker’s expert utilisation of Nollywood’s veteran actors, whose performances radiate brightly against the backdrop of the film’s technical excellence.

Effiong’s film revolves around Paul Edima, a former military guerrilla whose haunted past resurfaces when he embarks on a relentless quest for justice, seeking those responsible for his son’s tragic death. Notably, Nollywood icon Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) delivers a remarkable and passionate performance in the lead role as Paul.

This will be Effiong’s biggest film yet as the movie looks to match the anticipation of movie fans who crave to have movies that could match up with its Hollywood counterparts. Kola Oyeneyin, an executive producer of the movie likened the film to ‘The Equalizer’, a Hollywood action blockbuster, ‘The Black Book’ delivers as anticipated.

RMD delivered an outstanding performance in his portrayal of Paul, showcasing his exceptional talent in intense action scenes alongside Ade Laoye, who takes on the role of Vic, an investigative journalist. This marks a significant moment in Ade Laoye’s career, as she embarks on her most prominent role since her debut in Emem Isong’s ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’ back in 2014.

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Effiong provides ample opportunity for the seasoned Nollywood cast to showcase their talents in this film. The wealth of experience possessed by veterans like Sam Dede, Alex Usifo, Shaffy Bello, Ireti Doyle, Patrick Doyle, and Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett shines through, making fans appreciate their performances and leaving them to ponder what cinematic wonders they could have achieved if they had access to today’s technology during the 90s and early 2000s. The actors, each delivering outstanding performances, demonstrate that they are in no way overshadowed by the new generation of stars.

The film’s editing and color grading deserve commendable praise. Throughout the movie, the seamless transition between various color palettes effectively conveyed distinct emotions and atmospheres in each scene. From the nostalgic hues that enveloped the flashbacks to the cold, desaturated tones that intensified the suspenseful moments, the film’s visual storytelling was remarkable.

These choices in color grading not only enhanced the narrative but also allowed viewers to immerse themselves fully in the characters’ evolving emotional journeys. It’s a testament to the film’s artistic prowess that the colors felt like characters in their own right, shaping the audience’s perception and eliciting a rush of emotions in the process.

Effiong showcases a mastery of cinematography and camera angles that are previously the hallmark of only Hollywood productions. His keen eye for framing and composition has breathed new life into Nollywood filmmaking. The way he employs dynamic camera angles, from intense close-ups that reveal the rawest of emotions, to wide angle shots that allows the background to tell the story for the character is truly a game-changer for the industry.

Effiong’s ability to seamlessly integrate these Hollywood-style techniques into a Nollywood film is a testament to his dedication to pushing the boundaries of African cinema. Viewers are not overfed with crane shots that sweep across cityscapes but are mostly drawn to dramatic tracking shots that heighten the suspense, all while maintaining a distinct Nollywood essence.

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‘The Black Book’ stands as a remarkable testament to the evolution of Nollywood cinema under the direction of Editi Effiong. This film not only showcases the director’s innovative approach to cinematography but also provides a stage for Nollywood veterans to shine alongside emerging talents.

The movie prompts us to reflect on what could have been achieved in earlier decades had today’s technology been available, and with its gripping storytelling and technical prowess, ‘The Black Book’ cements its place as a must-see film and a testament to the exciting future of Nollywood.