I have to agree with the lukewarm recommendations given by the RT community. This film feels as if it were made sixty years ago, which was probably its intent; but that approach did not work for me in 2008, nor can I imagine that I would have felt much differently about it in 1990, when the film was released. Eastwood never sounded quite right as he attempted to simulate John Huston's stilted speech; and other members of the cast, whom Eastwood directed, also spoke in a style that went out a long time ago. I appreciated the effort but never felt that it was convincing. I believe that Eastwood should have gone with thoroughly modern realism (my choice) or perhaps for even more stylized dialog, but not the kind of uncomfortably in-between compromise in this film, which has the amazing effect of making one of our greatest actors sound like an amateur.
Without giving away too much of the ending, I'd like to say that there were two climaxes in the movie. One wraps up the central story line, which is the obsession that "John Wilson" (the John Huston character) had with adventure in the form of elephant hunting; and the other makes a final comment on bigotry and exploitation. Early in the movie, Wilson/Huston shows his utter contempt for anti-Semitism; and throughout the rest of the movie, he stands almost alone, except for his Jewish writer, Pete, against the blatant racism and exploitation exhibited by the white interlopers against the Africans.
I assume that the screenwriter did not carelessly run the two themes simultaneously without purpose. He may have been deliberately showing the contradiction between Wilson's sensitivity to minorities and his eagerness to kill an elephant; but this is not an obvious connection to make for three reasons: (1) many, if not most, people, rightly or wrongly draw a distinction between animals and people; hunters are not routinely bigots, nor insensitive to their families and friends; (2) "Wilson" was not a nice person anyway; he may have been humanistic in his sticking up for minorities; but he didn't give a damn about how he made his friends and business associates feel; and (3) the acting was of such a nature as to hide any inner conflicts the characters may have been having. Then suddenly at the end of the film Wilson shows that he understands and is troubled by the contradiction. I guess that's real life in a way because many people go through most of life clueless before they recognize the obvious; but the film barely held my interest in the characters until it finally revealed that it had a point at the end.
The almost simultaneous denouements of the anti-bigotry theme and of Wilson's adventure/obsession corroborated each other in fact, but were discordant dramatically, one being simple and overt while the other was more complicated and worked on a level of Wilson's consciousness that we had no idea about until that very moment. The fact that Wilson's dual realizations converge is clever in retrospect; had the movie prepared us better for it, it could have been powerful. I think that modern-day realistic acting could have, should have, and would have supported the otherwise modern (i.e. conflicted in an off-hand, dry, sort of way) sensibility of the film.