Dramatisation of the abortive real-life attempt by Simon Mann to organise a coup to take over Equatorial Guinea in 2004. The case achieved notoriety because one of the innocent financial ... See full summary »





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Cast overview, first billed only:
Simon Mann
Amanda Mann
Tom Mannion ...
John Strick
Roddy Hamilton
Joe Mason ...
Sandy Mann
Andree Evans ...
Ian Roberts ...
Nick du Toit
David Dennis ...
Rafael Acosta (as David Denis)
Putla Sehlapelo ...
Lionel Newton ...
Crause Steyl
Joe Mkubwa
Yule Masiteng ...
Sechaba Morojele ...
Eric Kangwena


Dramatisation of the abortive real-life attempt by Simon Mann to organise a coup to take over Equatorial Guinea in 2004. The case achieved notoriety because one of the innocent financial backers of the project was Sir Mark Thatcher, son of British ex-PM 'Margaret Thatcher'. Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

30 June 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Vallaton vallankumous  »

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Disclaimer in the opening titles: "Some of the names have been changed. And some of them HAVEN'T". See more »

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A strong story with a great script, stylish and professional direction and roundly strong performances
4 August 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Bored sh*tless in his mansion with his well educated child and gorgeous wife, former SAS man Simon Mann shows interest when Rafael Acosta offers him a project. The "project" is to form a group of men from his old military units to take over Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea just before the 2004 election and install the exiled Severo Moto in place of the ruling President. Asking around his old army and college chums, Simon starts to pull together funding and manpower. However it is not the well oiled operation one would have hoped for and, unknown to him, the South African Intelligence Agency gets wind of it.

Written by John Fortune this film I hoped this film would have a good bite to it and a rather comic edge. Happily this is just what it does have as it presents a very British coup, based on the actions of bored public schoolboys most of whom seem the military action as either a way to make more money or one last hurrah or both. The material is very well written with a dramatic core to it that is engaging and enjoyable but with the constant touch of the absurd about it. In this way it is a roundly satisfying piece because it is amusing but not at the expense of the narrative – it is an impressive piece of writing from Fortune who captures the event really well. Jones' direction matches this professional approach really well and the film looks much better than the TVM label would suggest. It is also cleverly edited, using music and visual styling well to give the film a fresh feel and inject energy.

In the UK the reporting of the incident focused on the involvement of Mark Thatcher, son of the former UK Prime Minister, but the film wisely sticks with the main character of Simon Mann. In this role Jared Harris convinces as he goes from boredom to adventure. He is a strong lead role and an enjoyable one. His supporting cast are equally as good although Bathurst is understandably the least developed of the characters and gives the most obvious turn. Roberts is convincing and his character's fate is the most impacting. Newton is reasonably good as indeed are Cohu, Mannion, Masha, Dennis and others – in fact only Blakiston's turn as Margaret Thatcher is weak and a bit unnecessary.

Overall though this is an excellent little film that covers a fascinating true story that wasn't that well reported outside of the Thatcher connection. Fortune's script is strong and used very well by Jones to produce an engaging drama with a streak of absurdity running through it. Well worth a look.

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