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The only saving grace of this hackneyed political cinema on apartheid is Marlon Brando's brief but towering Oscar-nominated performance as a lawyer defending a black South African wrongly tortured by Afrikaner policemen.
Saw this back in 1989 in my 20's and never forgot it, ahead of it's time in content. Saw Ladysmith Black Mambazo live in the early 90's because of this movie. Been a fan of both ever since. Great movie and music. Until 911 even some of the most worldly travelers of the U.S. were saying 'what war?' throughout the 80's and 90's. It's only in the last decade Americans really began to take an interest in international plights and politics.
Seeing this film after seeing Cry Freedom is perhaps the reason that this effort doesn't move me as deeply. Although very good, the impact of A Dry White Season is just not as powerful. It tell the same kind of story and has good actors, but Janet Suzman and Susan Sarandon are just given nothing to work with by the script and even the other character are a bit flat by comparison. Sorry, but I was not impressed by Brando's performance, either. A Dry White season might also come out lacking because, unlike Cry Freedom, it is not a true story and also lack the great direction and epic quality of Cry Freedom, but then, of course, it lacked the huge budget as well. Both films manage to convey the horror of Apartheid, but Cry Freedom does it somewhat better.
This is a hard-hitting and unsparing movie, effective at revealing how apartheid infected both whites and blacks in South Africa. There are a few artistic shortcomings and the movie is a bit too earnest, but there are some fine moments as well, and was gripping throughout.
good pic about apartheid
Not a particularly happy movie, but very well done. Well-written script with themes that still resonant today: "hope is a white word" "justice and law are distant cousins and here in South Africa they aren't on speaking terms"
***Due to the recent RT changes that have basically ruined my past reviews, I am mostly only giving a rating rather than a full review.***
Featuring the major problems of South Africa's apartheid, A Dry White Season has a great plot depicting such problems, but the most interesting fact about the film is that it was released way before Mandela, and South Africa still had issues (the movie was banned in South Africa upon release). Marlon Brando is great enough to make an impact with just a few minutes on screen.
In spite of an overall dialogue/screenplay problem (which I found a bit embedded and forced), A Dry White Season is worth watching, since it has many hard-hitting scenes.