Mister Johnson (1991)

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Director Bruce Beresford followed up his Academy Award-winning Driving Miss Daisy with another meditation on race, Mister Johnson. Set in West Africa in 1923, Johnson (Maynard Eziashi), the clerk of British administrator Harry Rudbeck (Pierce Brosnan), attempts everything within his power to ingratiate himself into white society. Johnson hatches a plan to juggle the books so that Rudbeck will have the capital necessary to achieve his ultimate dream of a "great northern road," but when his scheme is uncovered, he is fired. After finding another job with a shopkeeper named Gollop (Edward Woodward), he is again fired for his "creative" financing skills; however, Rudbeck hires him back to oversee the road construction project. When funds are cut off, Johnson convinces workers to do their jobs for free to ensure the project's completion. Once again, he is caught embezzling, and once again, he is let go; in a fit of desperation, he robs and kills Gollup. After confessing to the crime, he begs Rudbeck to kill him, sparing him the humiliation of public execution. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Mister Johnson

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (6)

Beresford, adapting Joyce Cary's 1939 novel, looks at the psychological relationships inherent in colonialism with some subtlety.

Sep 7, 2011 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

Beresford and writer William Boyd have delivered a film strangely devoid of emotion and lacking a clear point of view.

Jul 28, 2008 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

The film works well as far as it goes, but some of the story's emotional power is denatured or lost.

Aug 30, 2004

No great friend of colonialism, Beresford makes his point without losing sight of either history or its mostly unsung heroes.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Although this colonial satire has intelligent aims, it's always a degree or two off the mark.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

I have seen "Mister Johnson" two times, and both times I admired its sense of time and place, and the thoughtful performances of Eziashi, Brosnan and Woodward.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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