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Mugabe and the White African (2010)

tomatometer

97

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 1

As much legal thriller as objective documentary, this account of a farmer's battle with Zimbabwe's regime serves as a powerful and emotional attack upon President Mugabe.

100

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 0

As much legal thriller as objective documentary, this account of a farmer's battle with Zimbabwe's regime serves as a powerful and emotional attack upon President Mugabe.

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 955

My Rating

Movie Info

Michael Campbell is one of a handful of white farmers still left in Zimbabwe since President Robert Mugabe began enforcing his controversial land seizure program, an initiative intended to reclaim white-owned land and redistribute it to poor black Zimbabweans. Since 2000, formerly thriving farms that employed thousands, now sit derelict while poverty and hunger are rife amongst the majority of the country's citizens; but 74-year-old Mike refuses to back down. Set against the backdrop of the

Dec 14, 2010

$4.5k

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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (1) | DVD (1)

The result is part legal thriller, part five-hankie melodrama.

January 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In a continent where despotic rule is not uncommon, there is little argument that Mugabe is the most monstrous of rulers.

September 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bailey and Thompson managed to create a remarkably vivid portrait of a land and its people, while bringing us two unforgettable heroes in Campbell and Freeth.

August 13, 2010
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Compelling true-life story of the legal battle between a white farmer and the repressive Zimbabwean regime.

July 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Many viewers will leave "Mugabe and the White African" thinking that they have seen few, if any, documentaries as wrenching, sad and infuriating, and those feelings will be justified.

July 23, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film clandestinely captures marauders in action while embedding itself in the imperiled home of aging farmer Michael Campbell.

July 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The filmmakers leave massive and sometimes reactionary holes in a film that could easily have pled a more accommodating and sophisticated yet equally airtight case.

September 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks
Nick's Flick Picks

The final hearing is the most extraordinary scene in the film.

August 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Mugabe and the White African is cinema-as-journalism at its most aesthetically confident and humanely satisfying.

July 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

This portrait of a strident white farmer and his family in Zimbabwe is interesting for its close-up view of life there, but it skips too many details and ends up being morally ambiguous.

July 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

This extraordinary profile in courage starkly bears passionate and brave witness as two flinty farmers stand up for their rights in a good vs. evil fight.

July 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Film-Forward.com
Film-Forward.com

Not highlighting the colonized history of Zimbabwe is a huge error for the one-sided doc that at times depicts the Black Zimbabweans as emotionless and racist savages. That said, it's a fearless film but do your own research to be fully informed.

July 20, 2010 Full Review Source: BET.com | Comments (4)
BET.com

Outrage powers documentary on Zimbabwean injustice

May 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

The film serves as a testimony on behalf of all of Mugabe's victims.

January 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (UK)
Sunday Times (UK)

[A] gripping documentary.

January 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

It excels as a courtroom drama, a tense thriller, a ringing call to arms, and, most of all, as a humbling portrait of the unflappable, indefatigable farmers and their families.

January 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Independent on Sunday
Independent on Sunday

Shot more like a thriller, this powerful documentary follows a white Zimbabwean family as they take on one of the most ruthless dictators in human history. It's both riveting and wrenching, and needs to be seen as far and wide as possible.

January 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall | Comment (1)
Shadows on the Wall

This is one of those documentaries that stays with you for years. The injustice infuriates and the story, simply and deftly told, breaks your heart.

January 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Mugabe and the White African

"Mugabe and the White African" is a documentary about Mike Campbell's fight to retain his commercial farm in Zimbabwe(ne Rhodesia) from being forcibly taken over by President Robert Mugabe, like those of other white farmers. And what Campbell goes through under threats of intimidation could definitely be thought of as a travesty. So, it is a shame that it is all presented with the subtlety of a tractor being dropped on your head. Mugabe is evil, we get it.(The documentary opens with stating that it had to be filmed under strict secrecy. Later there is a scene where Campbell is having a showdown with a government minister's son and they are both filming each other.) All that had to be done to establish this would be to show the beaten opposition candidates.

What "Mugabe and the White African" also required was a wider perspective and I think part of the problem does come from the white farmers who have an air of paternalism about them when claiming their indespensability to the local economy, implying that they can do a much better job than any black farmers. And according to a BBC report in 2000, the white population which is 1% of Zimbabwe controlled more than 70% of the arable land. That along with Zimbabwe's extremely racist past allows Mugabe to so successfully play the race card.
October 15, 2011
Harlequin68
Walter M.

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Foreign Titles

  • Mugabe et l'Africain Blanc (FR)
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