The Black Book (2023) centers around Paul Edima, a deacon whose return to a world of crime happens after his son’s tragic and wrongful death at the hands of the police in Nigeria. The world of crime is enmeshed with cobwebs that have every societal institution trapped in it, from the police to the army and the press.

*Spoiler alert*

The Black Book (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The film opens with a man and a baby being kidnapped at gunpoint amidst busy traffic in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. A suspect is pinned down and taken into custody. However, the morning news reveals that the kidnapping suspect has escaped police custody. The man who has been kidnapped is the husband of Professor Stella Craig, the director general of the Nigeria Energy and Oil Company, or the NEOC. The kidnappers have also got their baby.

Paul Edima and his son, Damilola, live together after Paul’s wife’s death. While Paul is a deacon, Damilola is aversive to preaching and praying. Moreover, Paul is highly revered in their community.

Stella Craig soon gets a call from the kidnappers. The kidnappers ask her to choose the one – between her husband and baby – whom she wants to see alive. However, despite Stella begging the kidnappers to leave the baby, the baby gets killed first. Following this, Stella Craig resigns from her post. It is clear that Stella’s anti-corruption stance has, by default, positioned her as the object of the wrath of the kidnappers. Stella’s resignation has ensured Jubril Dauda’s appointment as the new NEOC DG through the backdoor by General Issa. This is done to let the corruption fester without any possible protestations or impediments.

On the other hand, Damilola agrees to join his father at the church. However, the father never sees his son fulfilling his desire as Damilola gets killed on his way by the SAKS (Special Anti-Kidnapping Squad) men. The news circulates a description of the absconding suspect– black, tall, and with dreadlocks. Since Damilola readily fits the description, he is easily made the target to hide the real suspect.

A journalist, Vic Kalu, approaches Paul to help him build up a case against the police for wrongful death. But Paul is unmoved. To cope with Damilola’s passing, Paul starts believing it was a divine punishment for the sins he committed in the past. He is stern while he asserts the innocence of his deceased son. Meanwhile, Vic pleads with a police officer to release the file that could prove Dami’s innocence.

Paul’s calm and composed demeanor falls apart at the police station as he goes there to extract the case file and gets insulted instead. Paul is sent into the lock-up. Vic assures Paul that she will arrange for a bail the next day. In prison, the police unleash the worst form of violent torture on Paul on account of being the progenitor of a ‘criminal.’ Later at night, they throw him in the ditch.

Vic has made some progress in terms of getting her hands on the police report secretly. She tries to bring it to Paul’s notice, but the latter stresses that she should leave the case as it is for her own safety. Quoting the words of the Bible, “Vengeance is mine, and I will repay,” Paul says that he believes God will ensure justice for his son and, therefore, Vic should not intervene. This agitates Vic as she believes that the ignorance of the people of Nigeria and their blind faith in God taking care of justice has only exacerbated the woeful condition of young people getting killed wrongfully.

With the help of his friend, Paul tracks down the SAKS officers who were involved in the murder of his son. The men, stripped off their clothes and tied to a sawboard, have no other recourse than to spit it all out. Paul records their confession and, after the torture session is over, ties them to an electric pole in the middle of a busy street. Vic gets hold of the recording where a SAKS official is seen hinting at some politician behind all this and takes it to her boss. The boss, however, pretends to destroy the hard drive, citing Vic’s safety. She passes the information of the recording to the DC of police.

A still from The Black Book (2023).
A still from The Black Book (2023).

Paul Edimo meets Stella Craig

After the police discover the body of Stella Craig’s husband and baby, Vic takes Paul to Stella Craig to find out more about his son’s death. Stella reveals that she hoped that her stepping away would at least spare her husband’s life, but the kidnappers killed him anyway. The threats started coming her way after she dug deep into the files of certain oil blocs.

Stella hands over the files to Paul and Vic and asks them to give meaning to her sacrifices. Later, Vic finds a possible link to an oil company, Patriot Oil, with confidential ownership. Knowing fully well what lies ahead, Paul forces Vic to leave the case yet again, as it is bound to put her life at stake.

Paul framed for murder of SAKS official

Before leaving, Vic shows Paul the news that he has been framed for the murder of an SAKS official. Meanwhile, armed men cordon off his house. Paul hides Vic and takes down the men.

These men have been sent to the house with Angel, a man Paul knew from his past life. When Paul asks him to reveal the real culprit’s identity, Angel replies that he has sent more sons to graves while he was the General’s favorite weapon. Paul figures out that Dipo is the one who has sent the people to kill him. Subsequently, Paul demands a live video confession of Angel, Dipo, and his son.

Paul meets the General the next day, demanding that Paul walk away from the case in exchange for one million dollars. On the other hand, Paul is only interested in getting his son’s body.

Paul Edima is Public Enemy Number One

General Issa is unhappy with Senator Dipo and threatens that Paul will come after him since he killed his son. Following a deal with the General, Paul has stayed quiet for 24 years. So, the General is clearly not the one to jeopardize Paul’s life. He turns to Dipo and says that he would rather have Paul teach him a lesson. General Issa says that he has ordered someone to kill all the police officers. The blame again shifts to Paul, and the commissioner declares him as the public enemy number one.

Vic’s connection to Paul

During General Issa’s reign, drug trafficking reached its zenith due to its profitability. Paul Edima was one of the people he appointed to be in his private squad. Senator Dipo was a drug smuggler at that time. The media was a sell-out except for Vic’s mother, a journalist, who refused to kowtow to Issa’s demands and threats. So, Paul was given the task of getting rid of the woman. However, after he was done doing the deed, he realized Vic had been watching it all along.

Unable to kill the child, Paul left her at a church and silently took care of her upbringing. Paul knew all along that it was the same Vic who is trying to help in this case. That is why he tried to push her away from the case. This infuriates Vic, whose world has turned upside down after coming face to face with the truth. He accuses Father Omotosho of falling into Paul’s trap by being lured in by his money. When she leaves crying, she gets kidnapped by Issa’s men.

The Black Book (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

What is the black book?

Taking Big Daddy’s help, whose own men were murdered by the General, Paul sets out to take down General Issa. All of Issa’s misdeeds were carefully secured in a black book by Paul. The deal that he made 24 years ago with General Issa was so that he would step down from the life of crime in exchange for this book.

 Paul and Big Daddy arrive at the General’s ranch to rescue Vic. When Paul manages to convince the General that he has arrived unarmed, Big Daddy ambushes the ranch with her squad of women.

When General Issa remains busy with Paul, Big Daddy and her women reach the safe where the black book and a hard drive are kept. The video of the hard drive is incriminating enough for General Issa. In it, he is seen killing four Nigerian army men to cover up his mining operations. General Issa loses all support when the video is circulated among the army circles. The military turns against him. Paul asks him to take his own life with a gun as it’s the only way out. But he points it at Paul instead.

Finally, Vic reaches the ranch where Paul has left the black book for her. Among other things, Paul says that once she goes through the black book, she will find that her mother was betrayed by the woman Vic reveres, Judith, her boss. Paul leaves with the hope that Vic turns out to be as brave as her mother.

The film ends with Paul burying his son’s body in their backyard.

Read More: Everything Coming to Netflix in October 2023

The Black Book (2023) Movie Trailer

The Black Book (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Wikipedia
The Black Book (2023) Movie Cast: Richard Mofe-Damijo, Ade Laoye, Sam Dede
Where to watch The Black Book

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