Behind the credits, two boys play happily together. Within minutes, the black boy is caught up in the Soweto uprising, the murderous violence of which is cross-cut with the white boy's family sitting on a manicured lawn to the strains of classical music. That, unfortunately, is the end of the film. Oh, there's business to clear up over the next 100 minutes, as Afrikaaner Ben du Toit (Sutherland) sees that Something Is Wrong in South Africa and that Something Should Be Done. There's Brando's star turn as a lawyer jaded by the realisation that justice cannot exist in matters of race, puffing, pausing, snorting, looking like he's wandered in from another movie. There's Prochnow's nicely understated Special Branch officer, and Suzman playing the bitch again; horrific tortures in police custody; and a sub-plot, not in André Brink's novel, designed to include a few black faces (South African exile Zakes Mokae is particularly good). But like Cry Freedom, it's still whites debating racial injustice: fine for a book published in Afrikaans a decade ago, but a poor premise for a message movie.
A Dry White Season
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Colin Welland, Euzhan Palcy|