The Netflix French-language film “In His Shadow” revolves around the lives of two brothers with contradictory worldviews, along with what happens following their final feud. Ibrahim has grown to be a thug, while Adama has kept alive the values imbibed in them by their father. Years and years of disagreements have pushed Adama to the edge, but he always chose to maintain his peace with Ibrahim. The film traces the moment that completely changed Adama and compelled him to take an unexpected turn. With a little voodoo magic and the belief in making one’s weakness their strength, “In His Shadow” is all about Adama finding the courage to stand up to his brother.
‘In His Shadow’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Life was quite comforting for Ibrahim as a child. He had a loving father and a devoted mother by his side. His father, Ousmane, started a restaurant with his wife, Agna, while she was pregnant. The restaurant gradually became the cultural hub of the project, where people gathered to interact and share ideas. Such a space had never existed before in the neighborhood, and naturally, it gathered quite a crowd. While life seemed great for the Keita family, it soon changed when Ousmane brought a woman along with him from his hometown. Agna protested, but Ousmane was determined not to let go of Maimouna. Agna was forced to accept Maimouna and her son, Adama. From then on, Ibrahim preferred staying out of his house, and he got involved with the criminal gangs that thrived in the neighborhood. When Ibrahim was arrested by the police for the first time, Ousmane renounced him as his son. Ibrahim did not change his ways and eventually formed his own gang. Agna chose to maintain contact with her son, and he later bought an apartment for her and his sister, Aissata.
Adama grew up under the influence of his father, who often shared wisdom over a game of oware. The first lesson Adama learned from his father was that one could win games by seemingly staying in a position of weakness. Adama met with a life-changing accident that left him blind for life. His mother believed that it was all done by Agna and the witch who lived at the project. Adama had grown up hearing his mother complain about Agna and the witch. She believed that they would want to harm her son. Ousmane taught Adama to never consider his condition a weakness. He advised him to turn his weakness into his ultimate strength. Over the years, Adama learned to sharpen his hearing abilities, and it always came to his advantage. He had a unique way of navigating the neighborhood, and he enjoyed creating music whenever he was free. While their lives were mostly peaceful, it completely changed when Ousmane suffered a heart attack and passed away. Without Ousmane’s protection, Maimouna and Adama feared that Ibrahim would bring chaos to their peaceful existence.
‘In His Shadow’ Ending Explained: How Did Adama Seek Revenge? Is Ibrahim Dead?
Aissata was in love with Adama’s friend, Malik, who lived in the same neighborhood. But Ibrahim was against their relationship, and he tortured Malik to teach him a lesson. Hearing Malik suffer at the hands of his brother was painful for Adama. His brother’s business affected those living in their building, especially the elders, who were often forced to take the stairs since the elevator was mostly shut off by them. The neighborhood was suffering because of Ibrahim, especially after his gang went on a warpath with Eddy and his gang from the next block.
Ibrahim stashed his weapons and money at Adama’s apartment. When Adama protested, he was reminded that the house belonged to him as well. Ibrahim knew that nobody would doubt a blind man and his old mother for hiding their stash. The clash between Ibrahim and Eddy’s gang escalated when one of his men kidnapped Eddy’s gang member. But Ibrahim denied the allegation, and Eddy was looking for revenge. At night, Eddy’s men entered Adama’s apartment, raided their house, and killed his support dog. All this while, Adama chose to deal peacefully with Ibrahim, but the night changed everything for him. He lost his constant companion, along with other household belongings, and it was all because of Ibrahim. Ibrahim risked their lives to protect himself and his gang, and Adama could not forgive him for doing so. He decided to visit the witch he had always heard about. She called out to him, and this time he chose to answer. He wanted revenge, and he was ready to embrace magic to make it possible. With the help of the magic performed by the witch, Adama got back his vision. The fire of vengeance now burned within him, but he chose to first attempt to make a peaceful amendment. He spoke to Eddy and his men, asking them to return the stash to avoid escalating the war between him and Ibrahim. But Eddy was not ready to bow down, and he justified his actions. Adama did not give up his blind act to make his enemies believe that he was weak.
Adama was kidnapped by Ibrahim and his men while he was on his way home. They wanted him to disclose the arrangement he made with Eddy, and they refused to believe the truth. After hitting Adama with kicks and punches, they kept him locked in a basement. Later, Ibrahim brought Maimouna to her son and asked her to find out the truth from him. When Ibrahim and his men were gone, Adama confided in his mother that he had gotten his vision back. Adama waited with a rock in his hand, ready to murder Ibrahim’s men. He smashed the head of the person who came in through the door when it opened, only to learn that it was Agna. Adama and Maimouna ran for their lives and sought shelter at Eddy’s place. Ibrahim was shattered upon finding his mother in a pool of blood, and he was determined to find Adama at all costs.
Maimouna advised Adama to keep his blind act on; she reaffirmed that if he were blind, no one would have any reason to suspect him of murder. Malik continued to be in touch with Adama, and he was the only person other than his mother who knew his truth. Malik discussed how Ibrahim was gradually losing his mind after Agna went into a coma. He was burning down stores that refused to pay him, and Eddy’s control over his stash resulted in his suppliers demanding money that he owed them. Malik hoped Adama could find a way to stop his brother.
When Ibrahim found out from Aissata about Malik’s connection with Adama, he tortured Malik to gather information. Malik’s severed finger was sent by Ibrahim in an oware box as a warning of the misery his friends and family would face. Adama learned from Eddy that Ibrahim was ready to allow him to use his trap houses for a few months in exchange for Adama, and Eddy accepted the deal. Adama promised Eddy complete access to the entire project, but he had to be on Adama’s side in return. Adama waited to attack Ibrahim at his own apartment. He turned off the power and rescued Malik from the basement. He released smoke grenades that created complete chaos in the building. Using the smoke to his advantage, he hid at the neighbor’s apartment, with whom he shared a pleasant relationship. He entered Ibrahim’s apartment through the terrace and attacked him, but Ibrahim overpowered him. While Adama was not as powerful as Ibrahim, he was always sharp with his senses. He had noticed a dagger that Ibrahim kept hidden, and he used it to stab him. Adama wanted to shoot Ibrahim in the face, but he could not make himself do so. He left in a hurry, and we later found out that Ibrahim did not survive the injury. Before entering Ibrahim’s apartment, Adama had called the police and informed them that a Bastions Projects gang was attacking people at the Murets’ project. Adama led Eddy to believe that he was helping him take over the entire project when, in reality, he was simply setting a trap for all those who made living at the project insufferable.
The police immediately allowed Adama to leave when they noticed that he was a blind man. Adama stuck to the teachings of his father and turned his weakness into his strength. After losing his sight, he learned to strengthen his other senses to an exceptional degree. He felt that the witch had blinded him, and it’s possible that it was true, given how magic restored his eyesight. He learned the most valuable lessons as a blind person, and it was his blind act that allowed him to walk free even after orchestrating the elaborate plan. Adama ultimately protected his neighborhood, his family, and his own peaceful existence, and he did it all without revealing his identity in the entire process.
“In His Shadow” is a 2023 French Drama Thriller film directed by Marc Fouchard.