What price would you pay to stand up for what you believe is right? That’s the question posed by director Jeta Amata in this politically charged drama set in Nigeria. The film, which is a fiction based on actual events, explores the rise of a movement for change after an oil spill tragedy leaves hundreds dead and the living left to pick up the pieces. The voices of the few willing to stand up for their rights echoed loud and act as a rallying cry for a region. This is their story.
A young group of Nigerian males make their way to Los Angeles to kidnap Tom Hudson (Mickey Rourke), the CEO of Western Oil responsible for the tragedy that took the lives of a thousand woman and children. The leader, Tamuno (Enyinna Nwigwe), carries out the task with fellow countrymen to attempt to negotiate the freedom for a young woman named Ebiere (Mbong Amata), who sits in a Warri prison set to be hung for crimes against the government. The group orchestrates an accident which closes off a roadway tunnel and allows the men to succeed in not only capturing Hudson, but a reporter named Kristy (Kim Basinger), her cameraman and several innocent bystanders. Tamuno tells Tom that he must help to free Ebiere or others will have to pay for the death of their beloved Ebiere. Kristy helps broadcast their story to the world.
We flash back to scenes of Ebiere as a young girl and her successes as a young student in the Niger Delta; successes that would ultimately lead to her earning a scholarship to an American university. Upon her return to Nigeria, Ebiere witnesses her mother and siblings die in the oil spill. Ebiere meets Kate Summers (Sarah Wayne Callies), a reporter who encourages Ebiere to organize peaceful protests so that they may stand up to those responsible for such a tragedy. Dede (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), a fisherman whose wife and only child died in the explosion takes a different path as he rallies a group of militia to take on the government. Two separate paths fighting for one common goal. When the murder of the community chiefs leads to the arrest of Ebiere and her supporters, it leaves both sides willing to take drastic measures to save the voice of their cause. Will Tamuno be able to save Ebiere from execution or will her death stand as a spark to rally a nation?
Jeta Amata’s powerful drama provides a history lesson on how greed and betrayal can cripple a nation. The subject matter is all too familiar as we witness an entire continent decimated over and over by those thirsty for power for all too many years. Black November reminds all of us that the price for the luxuries of a Western lifestyle directly effect those in impoverished countries. A lesson many of us are all too willing to dismiss.
3 out of 5
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