A political thriller: the real-life story of a South African hero's journey to freedom. In the country's turbulent and divided times in the 1980s, Patrick Chamusso is an oil refinery foreman and soccer coach who is apolitical - until he and his wife Precious are jailed. Patrick is stunned into action against the country's oppressive reigning system, even as police Colonel Nic Vos further insinuates himself into the Chamussos' lives. Written by
Powerful and sustained but at the end, an artistic flaw
I can't quarrel with those who give this film high praise for powerfully representing the complex humanity of both the oppressor and oppressed with first-rate film-making. Essentially it tells how a capable, peaceable bystander is bullied into becoming a "freedom fighter" (or "terrorist" if you will), at cost. BUT given most of the film's present-tense dramatic intensity, I was disappointed by the sudden lapse into voice-over past tense narration at the end, hastily tacked on it would seem to tell us that though the story seems a downer, historically it all turned out well after all. I'd rather have seen another hour -- maybe less -- that continued the tale on its own terms -- the subject is epic enough to deserve it. Or else seen all that end material separated from the film itself, an end flourish upwards amid the end-credits, performing the job but leaving the main story its own integrity. Too bad. An excellent film, strong but in this regard imperfect.
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