In His Shadow (2023) Movie Ending Explained: Mark Fouchad’s ‘In His Shadow’ (Original title: Le Roi des Ombres) has many elements to make it a compelling thriller. It primarily focuses on the story of two step-brothers who lead their lives on opposite sides of morality. Their motivations are enough to make you resonate with their journeys. Besides being a story about their relationship, it is also a tale of revenge where everyone fights for the purpose that they strongly believe in. Its inherent drama is sufficient to turn its narrative into a riveting crime thriller.

Streaming on Netflix, the film stars Alassane Diong, Kaaris, Assa Sylla, Carl Malapa, and Issaka Sawadogo in central roles. Their committed performances make this conventional affair a highly engaging one. But before we delve into its plot, be aware of spoilers.

In His Shadow (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis

As a recently married couple, Ousmane (Isaaka Sawadogo) and Agna (Tatiana Rojo) moved to a new neighborhood in France. At the time, Agna was pregnant with Ibrahim. Still, Ousmane took this courageous decision since he did not want to keep working for someone else. He decided to open his own restaurant, giving him authority over his choices. While he started it out of necessity – to feed his family, his business eventually became a big deal in the neighborhood.

While all was going seemingly well, one day, Ibrahim returned home to find his parents arguing with each other. Despite their marriage, Ousmane decided to marry Maimouna (Mareme N’Diaye). It enraged her and made him distant from her. Eventually, Maimouna got pregnant with Adama. While living together in a house, she saw Agna clearing out Adama’s hair from the basin. She thought that Agna was taking them to a witch to cast a spell on her son. It became the reason for their endless fights. While they kept arguing with each other over the years, Ibrahim took care of baby Adama.

However, once they grew a bit older, he became exposed to the world of crime. Ousmane disapproved of it. Instead, he praised Adama, who kept that world at bay and instead started defeating him in oware (a board game) with his intelligence. Later, Agna had another child named Aïssata, who also kept her distance from criminal activities. Soon after, Ibrahim started getting caught by the police. On the other hand, Adama lost his eyesight in an accident where he was trying to save his mother’s honor.

While Ousmane considered it a terrible accident, Maimouna saw it as a result of black magic. Her viewpoint left an imprint on Adama’s mind, who continued to believe that a witch caused his blindness. Meanwhile, to help ease his recovery as a blind person, Ousmane decided to move to a new apartment. But despite Ibrahim’s offer to move in with him, Ousmane refused to associate himself with this corrupt world. Still, Agna moved into Ibrahim’s apartment with young Aïssata while Ousmane continued to take care of Adama.

Besides making Adama independent and capable of exploring the world on his own, Ousmane made him emotionally competent by teaching an important lesson – ‘Embrace your weakness and look to make it your strength.’ However, he abandoned Ibrahim (Kaaris). It made him grow up with resentment against his father. In the present, he threatens Aïssata’s (Assa Sylla) partner, Malik (Carl Malapa), to do his dirty work for him. Malik partakes largely out of fear and concern for his family and Aïssata’s safety.

Later on, Adama overhears Ibrahim senselessly thrashing Malik to keep his distance from Aïssata. He and Mrs. Diop (Josée Schuller) get terrified by it. Upon a visit by Aïssata, he reveals what he heard and informs her about a threat to Malik’s life. In between their dialogue, he overhears Ousmane gasping for breath. They both run to find him collapsed on the staircase. While they take him to the hospital, he eventually dies. In his will, he leaves nothing to Ibrahim. It upsets Agna, who speaks about injustice. Maimouna overhears it and alerts Adama to keep a low profile due to a possible risk to his life.

Malik starts getting distant from Aïssata due to Ibrahim’s threat. On the other hand, Ibrahim is enraged for not getting any share from their father. So, after robbing a place, he keeps all the stash in Adama’s place, saying that the police wouldn’t consider him a culprit. He takes that decision out of the same anger seeing him being preferred by their father even after his death. Later, one of Ibrahims’s guys gets caught by a cop. Ibrahim fights for him, saying that he is innocent. He says that it was another gang’s fault and asks him to check on his guy. The cop cannot find anything suspicious about the man and reluctantly lets him go.

At night, while Adama works on his music with headphones on, two guys enter his house to loot the cash from his apartment. They shoot his dog but do not hurt him. Ousmane’s co-worker, Chérif (Hassam Ghancy), urges Ibrahim to let go of the dangerous path of crime and do what his father expected from him instead. He tries to convince that Ousmane had only noble intentions for acting the way he did. Ibrahim takes it as an insult and abuses Chérif.

In His Shadow

Later, Maimouna returns home to notice all of Ibrahim’s stash is gone and gets worried. Adama, on the other hand, is devastated by his dog’s loss. By that time, he slowly starts recovering his vision and sees a witch, according to an image he conjured up when he was young. He confesses that he is tired of this life filled with violence. The next day, he goes to the Bastions Projects to meet Eddy, leader of his brother’s enemy gang. Adama asks him to return the stash, saying things are getting out of control. But Eddy does not budge and does not give in to Adama’s plea.

Back on his way home, Adama gets captured by Ibrahim’s men, who beat him and take him to Ibrahim. He asks Ibrahim why he went to meet Eddy. Adama says that he intends to fix the situation, but Ibrahim does not accept that as an answer. He believes his brother has a different, mean-spirited motive and keeps beating him to get the ‘truth’ out. Malik meets Aïssata and tells her the rumor that Ibrahim has kidnaped Adama. But he refuses to share any further details. While Aïssata accepts that Ibrahim is no saint, she does not believe he would kidnap his other. She does not want him to get blamed for everything bad.

Ibrahim brings Adama’s mom to meet him. She thrashes him to let her son get out. Later, Adama reveals to her that his vision is slowly getting repaired. But she tells him to give others the illusion that he is blind, considering the danger to his life. Meanwhile, back at their apartment, Aïssata questions Ibrahim whether he has kidnapped Adama as per the rumors. Agna also starts bickering him, and he accepts that he did. Then, Aïssata reveals to her that he also attacked Malick. Ibrahim gets angry and calls her entitled since they live on the money he earns, even from illegal activities.

Agna feels bad for what happened to her family. She looks at their family picture with Ousmane back when all their children were young and gets emotional. So, with a sense of guilt, she decides to go save Adama herself. He overhears her footsteps and feels that someone is coming to attack them. So, he hides behind the wall and attacks Agna when she enters. When she gets injured, he decides to leave immediately with Maimouna. She takes him to Eddy’s place and reveals what Ibrahim did. They get a safe refuge with them for the time being.

Eddy sees it as his win since his enemy’s family is joining his side. Meanwhile, Ibrahim gets enraged seeing his mother dead. For this, he decides to take revenge against Adama, who he believes, killed her. Adama confirms to Maimouna that it was an unfortunate accident since his vision was still blurry when it happened. He did not mean to kill Agna. Meanwhile, Malik arranges some supplies and hands them over to Adama at Eddy’s. Ibrahim continues his search for Adama and questions everyone he suspects giving him shelter. In the process, he cold-heartedly kills Chérif.

Malik comes to meet Adama and urges him to come clean to the cops about what happened. Adama believes that Ibrahim will still not go to prison since they have no proof of his wrongdoings. Even the stash has been stolen. That’s when Malik realizes that Adama is not blind anymore. Meanwhile, Aïssata returns to Ibrahim’s place to find evidence to get him convicted. Later, Eddy abuses Malik, then cuts one of his fingers and gives it to Adama in oware to blackmail him. While he plays the footage from the time of that abuse, Adama continues to pretend that he is blind.

In His Shadow (2023) Movie Ending Explained

Does Adama stay alive in the end? What happens to Ibrahim?

Eddy keeps Malik in his basement. In exchange for his safety, he asks Adama to find out the locations of Ibrahim’s trap houses and share them with him. Adama gets out of his place and sends Maimouna out of the city for her safety. Aïssata pleads to Ibrahim to help get Malik rescued. He does not provide a helping hand and instead locks her inside her room.

Later at night, Adama turns off the electricity connection to Eddy’s place and rescues Malik. Upon reaching Ibrahim’s building, he calls the police and throws smoke bombs in the corridor. Through that distraction, he reaches Mrs. Diop’s place and then tells the cops that he is calling from Block C of Murets Projects (Ibrahim’s) and that men from Bastions are attacking him. He signals Eddy from the apartment with a torchlight, who stands right in the basement.

While Eddy’s men enter Murets Projects, Adama tries to sneak into Ibrahim’s apartment. Ibrahim notices him and starts beating him. While Aïssata keeps begging him to get her out, he tries to strangle Adama to death. But soon, he gives up due to his past guilt. Adama points a gun at his head and tries to shoot him. That’s when Aïssata manages to get out of her room. But due to his earlier struggle for life with Adama, Ibrahim ends up dead by then.

Adama leaves Ibrahim’s apartment and continues to pretend that he is blind to get out of the building. So the cops at the basement (who arrive because of his call) let him go without any objection. He walks a mile and then throws his walking stick into a dustbin. Then, he walks away while getting both the reasons for his anguish behind bars. He recalls his father’s statement about how he needs to make his weakness his strength.

It is evident that he wants to run away from any connection to this treacherous world. However, such an ending leaves the film with a very generic statement. The film becomes nothing more than people acting on their feeling of vengeance. Ultimately, Adama comes to the top, which becomes the sole conclusion. Meanwhile, its potent themes remain in the background, not explored to their complete potential, leaving the film to be a riveting but not a timely experience.

Also, Read: Encounter [2021] Review: Riz Ahmed takes the Spotlight in this Sci-fi thriller

In His Shadow (2023) Movie Links: IMDb Rotten Tomatoes
In His Shadow (2023) Movie Cast: Alassane Diong, Kaaris, Assa Sylla, Carl Malapa, Issaka Sawadogo
Where to watch In His Shadown

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