Police officer Dirk Hendricks (Bartlett) files an amnesty application for Alex Mpondo (Ejiofor), a member of the South African Parliament who can't remember the torture he once endured as a captive political activist. South African-born attorney Sarah Barcant (Swank), meanwhile, returns to her homeland to represent Mpondo, as well as Steve Sizela, Mpondo's friend who was arrested along with him ...
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The South African lawyer Sarah Barcant travels from New York back to her hometown to represent the member of the Parliament Alex Mpondo in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission since torturer police officer Dirk Hendricks has made an application for amnesty. The parents of Steve Sizela request Sarah to represent them also since their son that was arrested with Mpondo but has gone missing. Hendricks uses one break in the trial to threaten Mpondo, promising to destroy his political career telling that he was a traitor. But Mpondo, who is a man traumatized with the torture, anticipates and tells what has happened to Steve Sizela and him in the hands of Hendricks and his superior Piet Müller. Will the remains of Steve be found and the truth disclosed?Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
I was unsure of this movie before renting and did so on the assurance that Hilary Swank has always given excellent performances in her movies. She seems to rely on restraint to gain the emotional impact that she does. And she didn't prove me wrong in this movie.
However the movie also had fantastic performances from all other members of the cast both speaking and non-speaking. I have to single out Jamie Bartlett and Chiwetel Ejiofor - the two main protagonists - for their outstanding acting abilities and portrayal of true human feelings and failings. The whole movie ran almost like a documentary.
I must applaud Tom Hooper as the director and Avril Beukes as the editor for keeping a multiple layered story being revealed smoothly whilst keeping dialogue and action moving along in an understandable fashion. The opening sequence of the South African landscape was striking and I had to push the pause button to savour the photography.
Why can't a movie like this ever get nominated for an International award. It seems to me to hit the high-rating button on all counts. It was not just a film it was a true experience of life in a country coming out of apartheid. A life of poverty was all around but it celebrated the dignity of the human spirit.
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