The story of political leader Patrice Lumumba, Congo's first prime minister who helped lead his country to independence from Belgium in the late 1950s. Lumumba's vision of a united Africa gained him powerful enemies: the Belgian authorities, who wanted a much more paternal role in their former colony's affairs, and the CIA, who supported Lumumba's former friend Joseph Mobutu. This was in order to protect U.S. business interests in Congo's vast resources and their upper hand in the Cold War power balance. During the tenuous first six months of Congo's independence when civil war threatened to erupt, Lumumba tried to quell hostilities but was eventually betrayed by Mobutu whom he had appointed as head of the army. In 1961 with several conspiracies occurring at once, Lumumba met a brutal death--a mere nine months after becoming the country's first Prime Minister. … More
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Critic Reviews for Lumumba
Peck, who assayed Lumumba's life in a 1991 documentary, now paces the doomed man's story like the genuine thriller it is.
At the heart of the movie is Ebouaney's performance as Lumumba, every bit as intense as Denzel Washington's as Malcolm X.
An engrossing film that attempts to unearth a dark period of African history and the short-lived tenure of Lumumba's power.
Ebouaney is given the daunting task of carrying a heavy film, and rises to the challenge with Denzel Washington-esque conviction.
It's a prime example of how a historical drama can be politically correct but thoroughly embalmed. The memory of Patrice Lumumba deserves better.
Drawn from life or not, film people need some flaw, some depth, a facial betrayal of emotional struggle. If not, they are the stuff of action adventure, rooted for but at once forgotten.
One day, when Ebouaney is a huge star, people will look back at this film and say 'That's what did it.'
The story of the Congo and its struggle for independence from Belgium is a bloody and torrid one, but Lumumba doesn't really imbue the tale with much spirit.
Lumumba overcomes some minor shortcomings and becomes an important and gripping feature.
Bites off way more than it can chew, it is often artlessly made, and it assumes that we know more than most of us do about the Congolese Nationalist Movement.
Earnestly but amateurishly acted, the movie feels more like a play with the actors exaggerating their gestures so that even those in the cheap seats won't miss anything.
A tense drama told with style and ambition -- and with a remarkably steely, energized performance at its core.
Seeing it shouldn't be taken as some sort of educational chore. Though informative, it also happens to be smashing good drama.
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