The Power of One – the Movie

Based on the novel by Bryce Courtenay, this movie came out in 1992, and I didn’t see it until now. Interestingly, one of the significant roles is played by Morgan Freeman, speaking with a strong African accent, and Freeman is not given top billing. I guess the movie was made before Morgan Freeman became, well, Morgan Freeman.

Ebert blasted this movie, and I strongly disagree with Ebert. This is a story about the struggle of human rights anywhere, and the rights of the natives in Africa specifically, during the time of WW II, and it ends before the height of Apartheid. Ok, the story is seen through the eye of an orphan English boy in a boarding school, who grows up close to Africans all his life and gets to love them and care for their cause. What is wrong with telling a story from that perspective, Roger Ebert?

This movie graphically depicts the rampant and open injustice, prejudice and hate of the South African white minority against the black population. Open discrimitation and brutal subjugation are widespread and shown constantly. I cannot remember any other movie that was more graphic and shocking in that respect. Now I understand how Nelson Mandela got imprisoned in the first place, and why his struggle was so necessary and fundamental to the eventual liberation of the South African nation.

The soundtrack drew me in. With traces of Paul Simon’s Graceland, African chanting carried the movie and continued through the credits. I simply didn’t want to turn the thing off, because the music would cease and I’d revert back to my own world.

Rating: ****

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