Black Box is a sci-fi horror film directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. in his directorial debut and starring Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine, Tosin Morohunfola and Troy James. The movie was released on Amazon Prime under the Blumhouse Television production banner.
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Black Box follows Nolan, an amnesiac who was recently in a car accident. It cost him his wife, and he is still trying to remember his past, while taking care of his daughter Ava. In all his difficulty, he comes across Dr Brooks, who promises to help him regain his memory with the help of a study. However, things are not as they appear.
Black Box seems like a Get Out and Flatliners hybrid. Okay, maybe not as bad as the latter, but it falls somewhere in the middle. You will be able to feel the parallels between it and Get Out and just like its predecessor, does not fail to impress. The movie is a look at Nolan’s struggle to come to terms and remember his familiar but unknown past. Along with this, he loses his job and is unable to take care of Ava.
In his frustration and desperation, he reaches out to Dr Brooks, who shows him some light at the end of the tunnel. However, once he starts to go through these sessions, he realises something more sinister. I won’t get into what because that’ll totally spoil the movie and the twist. But the resulting revelation is more horrific because sometimes, the past should be kept in the past.
The sci-fi thing is fine, and mostly believable if you don’t nit-pick too much and go with the logic the movie is providing you. However, what is more difficult to digest is how uncomfortable Nolan and Miranda’s meeting scene is. It goes to show that whatever you might do, some things just don’t change, and it’s probably for the best to let sleeping dogs rest. Black Box also does a good job with defining the different relationships between people, especially between Nolan and Ava. They both really love each other, and you can understand how desperate Nolan wants everything to go back to normal for her sake.
The best part of Black Box, however, are its performances. Mamoudou Athie does an excellent job as Nolan and is believable as an amnesiac who is trying to understand how to get through the tragedy that is his brain. There’s desperation, sadness and also a little bit of hope that Athie showcases with great results. You root for him to get better and live his life to the fullest. On the other hand, Phylicia Rashad is also great as the desperate Dr Brooks. She just wants her son back, but the way she does it is cold and unforgiving, and her acting portrays as much.
The cinematography is also excellent and does so much for the movie. It’s dark, cold and murky – much like Nolan’s mind. It adds so much to the story, along with the background score that adds much mystery and suspense to the story. Scenes flow in and out and it’s a good and engaging watch.
Summing up: Black Box
Black Box does not fail to hold on to its mystery and suspense throughout its 1 hour 40 minutes runtime. There’s a lot going on, and if you believe in the science that the movie is telling you, it makes it frightening. The performances, cinematography, music, everything’s great and add so much to the story. There’s some heartwarming moments between Nolan and Ava that really define their bond and love for each other, and gives you something to root for.
Black Box is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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