Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
USA, 1989. Davros Films, Star Partners II Ltd., Sundance Productions. Screenplay by Colin Welland, Euzhan Palcy, based on the novel by Andre P. Brink. Cinematography by Pierre-William Glenn, Kelvin Pike. Produced by Paula Weinstein. Music by Dave Grusin. Production Design by John Fenner. Costume Design by Charles Knode. Film Editing by Glenn Cunningham, Sam O’Steen.
Donald Sutherland plays a South African schoolteacher who is completely oblivious to the turbulence in his own country until his gardener’s son is viciously attacked by police during a demonstration by a group of black schoolchildren. He grows to realize the legal injustices that his government takes part in, mostly in the form of an evil police commissioner (Jürgen Prochnow) whose eventual outcome is so conventionally Hollywood that it robs the film’s potential of being more powerful. Sort of a male version of The Official Story and a less challenging A World Apart, it also features a marvelous supporting performance by Marlon Brando as a world-weary lawyer; his scenes are the most energetic part of the film.
The Criterion Collection: #953
Academy Award Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Marlon Brando)
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Marlon Brando)
Toronto International Film Festival: 1989