A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence, reckoning, and retribution are the big takeaways.
Positive Role Models
Vic is a fearless female journalist who faces danger and corruption at every turn. Other main characters, while trying to redeem and atone for their pasts, are pulled back into their violent ways after a death at the hands of a corrupt police force.
Showcases the diversity and vibrancy of Nigerian culture. Characters from all walks of life and backgrounds; Nigerian history and music are incorporated into the story. Nigerian cast.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence and some traumatic moments. A woman working to fight corruption in the public and private sectors receives a phone call from kidnappers who have taken her husband and baby daughter hostage. The lead kidnapper gives her the ultimatum of choosing between either her husband or baby getting shot and killed -- the kidnapper ends up shooting and killing both. Characters are shot and killed at close range. Villains are tied up, tortured, and beaten. Lead characters are tied up and threatened with death by guns. A dead body is found on the beach, the sand bloodied. Sniper deaths. Fighting with assorted high-powered weaponry. People are set on fire while trapped inside a car. Dead bodies.
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Infrequent mild language: "goddammit" and "damn."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Tobacco or marijuana smoking. Tobacco or marijuana smoked like a joint in rolling papers. Wine drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Black Book is a 2023 Nollywood action-thriller in which a preacher with a shady past seeks retribution after his son is killed and framed for murder. Expect action movie violence, including characters shot and killed at close range. A dead body found on the beach leaves the sand bloodied. A woman is forced by kidnappers to choose between her husband or baby daughter to be shot and killed -- the kidnappers end up killing them both anyway. Fighting with high-powered weaponry. Punches, kicks. The villains are tied up and tortured. The lead characters are tied up and threatened with shooting deaths. Cigarette or marijuana smoking. Wine drinking. Infrequent mild language includes "goddammit" and "damn." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an intense if highly stylized Nollywood action-thriller. The Black Book treads on some familiar ground in the action-thriller genre: official corruption, revenge, hostages, retired warriors forced by circumstance to become warriors once more, etc. There are some obvious nods to the sensibilities of other directors who make these kinds of movies. And yet, the story takes on complexities not often seen in action-thrillers.
While some plot twists feel more than a little forced, the central conflicts are engaging, both in the external action and in the internal reckoning that the lead character Paul must face. As a bonus, the scenes of Lagos -- Nigeria's capital -- and surrounding areas provide an interesting backdrop as the history and culture have a significant influence on the main characters and the story. It shows a world audiences outside of Africa are only now just beginning to truly see and appreciate in all its rich complexity.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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