Is Black Book Based on a True Story?

‘Black Book,’ directed by Editi Effiong, is a 2023 action-thriller featuring a stellar cast including Richard Mofe-Damijo, Ade Laoye, Sam Dede, Alex Usifo Omiagbo, Shaffy Bello, Kelechi Udegbe, and more. The film chronicles the harrowing journey of Paul Edima; a father pushed to the edge after the unjust execution of his son by corrupt police officers. Fueled by a burning desire for justice and retribution, Paul plunges headfirst into a war against all those involved in his son’s death. In doing so, he finds himself reluctantly dragged back into a life of violence and killing.

‘Black Book’ stands out from its contemporaries by masterfully delving into serious themes such as corruption, morality, death, and redemption. The film adeptly navigates these subjects. The analysis of such weighty ideas adds a layer of finesse to its narrative and promises a thought-provoking cinematic journey. Given its realistic exploration of themes like corruption and morality, one might wonder if ‘Black Book’ is based on real events. Here are the facts. 

Is Black Book a True Story?

No, Black Book is not based on a true story. Instead, it skillfully draws upon prevalent issues like corruption, bribery, morality, and societal inequalities that exist in the real world. Written and directed by Editi Effiong, the film serves as a lens through which it exposes the true nature of a society, using the backdrop of an underdeveloped country. It vividly portrays a society where corruption is deeply ingrained, illustrating that remaining faithful to one’s duties can be dangerous.

Bimbo Akintola’s character, Professor Craig, pays a steep price for her dedication to her job in a corrupt society, showcasing the dire consequences of being principled in such a world. ‘Black Book’ effectively unveils the dark underbelly of societal structures and the challenges faced by those striving to uphold integrity and truth in the face of rampant corruption.

Editi Effiong has garnered widespread acclaim in Nollywood. ‘Black Book’ represents his directorial debut, adding to his already impressive body of work which includes Nollywood productions such as ‘Fishbone,’ ‘Day of Destiny,’ ‘The Set Up,’ ‘Up North,’ and several others. Interestingly, Effiong’s journey into filmmaking began after a successful career as a web developer, and as the years passed, he transitioned seamlessly into a full-fledged filmmaker within the Nigerian film industry. 

When asked about his web-developer to-filmmaking journey in an interview, Editi stated, “My dad had a whole lot of books, and I read every single thing. I grew up in that artistic awe, but, my dad was so afraid of me acting in that awe, more or less, so I went through my senior secondary school doing nothing but science.” Editi continued, “I started in Advertising for about 12 years. I was doing visual storytelling for about 8 of those 12 years; I was helping brands tell their story; making short films, making ads, you know, and so it wasn’t like a very rude awakening when I moved to make films”.

Richard Mofe-Damijo, the actor portraying Paul Edima in ‘Black Book,’ opened up on his preparations for the role. During their initial meeting, Editi Effiong candidly suggested that Richard should shed some weight for the role. In a light-hearted exchange, Richard agreed to the suggestion under the condition that the production would cover the expenses of the gym and a trainer. Editi agreed to the terms, and with a handshake, the agreement was set. Richard committed to hitting the gym a minimum of three times a week, ultimately shedding a significant amount of weight to embody the role of a grieving father and ex-military man convincingly.

Richard Continued, “We shake hands again, and he goes, “You need to be fitter physically, sir. You need to hit the gym a minimum of 3 times a week for some months before we shoot.” I’m looking at this young man and his audacity, about to protest, but I looked down, and I knew he was right. I had sort of let go at the time and was precisely 120kg. We shook hands on it, and this time, I walked out and didn’t hear him say anything else.”

It can also be argued that the ‘Black Book’ operates as a societal critique, considering Editi Effiong’s inclination to create films that deeply resonate with audiences and compel them to confront the stark realities of society. His filmography reflects a consistent effort to move people emotionally and intellectually, pushing them to confront the challenging aspects of the society they live in. Effiong’s movies often serve as a catalyst for change, especially in times of great need.

By shedding light on pressing issues and presenting them in a raw and authentic manner, Editi’s works encourage reflection, dialogue, and a desire for transformation. ‘Black Book,’ much like his other films, seems to aim at provoking a response from the audience, sparking conversations, and inspiring individuals to take action in addressing the issues portrayed.

So, in a nutshell, ‘Black Book’ is not rooted in reality, but it contains themes and notions that are present in modern society. The movie sheds light on the harsh reality of society, exposing that those with wealth and power often exploit and disregard the less privileged instead of offering assistance. 

Read more: Where Was Netflix’s The Black Book Filmed?