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Performed by Scanners
Written by Sarah Daly and Matthew Mole
Courtesy of Influx Music Ltd./Dam Mak Records/Rhino Independent
By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing See more »
Apartheid based Political Thriller
The Apartheid system in South Africa was one of the most brutal, unpleasant regimes to inflect Africa and the world. It lead the discrimination and holding back of the vase majority of South Africa for the privilege of the White minority. It isolated South Africa as a nation and forced one of the world's greatest leaders in prison for 27 years.
In 1985 violence in South Africa is including, the townships are rioting and the South African security forces use force to stop them. In this background is Michael Young (Jonny Lee Miller), a senior employee of Consolidated Gold, a London based mining company. He sees that Apartiheid is a failing, dying system, and he wants to see its end. He goes on a mission, backed by his Chief Executive to bring the African National Congress, and the National Party (i.e. the white Boar party) together for secret talks in London. After struggling to find a moderate third party Young is able to recruit Will Esterhuyse (William Hurt), a philosophy professor who believes in the ideas of social justice. The ANC use Thabo Mbeki (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the then information director, as their chief negotiator. He is warned by the ANC Oliver Tambo (John Kani) that he must not tell anyone about the talks because there were forces within the South African security services and extremists with the ANC who want the talks to fail. Within the National camp the President of South Africa P.W. Botha (Timothy West) tries to use the talks to keep his own presidency going. He uses his intelligence services chief Dr Barnard (Mark Strong) to use the talks to find out how the ANC function and try and split the ANC in two. Barnard tries to woo Nelson Mandela (Clarke Peters), trying to make him more important again and therefore split the leadership and the followers.
This was a well-crafted thriller, with a good script focusing on action in both England and South Africa. It clearly shows who the main players are makes Mbeki, Tambo, Mandela and Esterhuyse into well rounded characters. Esterhuyse was a particularly interesting character. There are some very talented actors in Endgame. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a very talented actor, I could watch him in anything and again he is in good form. William Hurt was a surprising casting choice, but he pulls of his role and the South African accent well. He is the most conflicted character in Endgame. Jonny Lee Miller offers a decent performance as slightly wet Michael Young who is trying to improve the lives of South Africans. Mark Strong, another talented actor was decent, but was pretty much playing the smart role as he did in Body of Lies. I also thought Timothy West was pretty good as Nelson Mandela.
The problem with Endgame is the direction by Pete Travis. The type of camera used and the way it was shot made it look like someone was using small portable camera. The camera was shaking about for all the scenes, being very distracting and needless. I was thinking use a tripod for God sake. This was a film that should have been filmed in a conventional way, like many political thrillers or like an episode of the West Wing. The only moment of real directional flair showing the scene when a ANC car is bombed. As well the film is so focused on the talks like a laser that there is no look at the wider context. Of course most the audience should know about the events of Apartiheid, but there could have shown the affects of sanctions, the system on the people, the violence, the international situation and most importantly the political negotiations with the camps. The South African government was particularly ignored. Events in the film just happened with any explanation at all which is distracting.
However this is a worthy watch about an important topic.
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