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Time Out says
Tue Dec 1 2009JM Coetzee’s 1999 examination of post-apartheid South Africa may have scooped up the Booker but it’s hardly an obvious candidate for a film. David Lurie (John Malkovich), a disenchanted Cape Town professor, has an affair with a mixed-race student that borders on rape; rumbled, he refuses to apologise – or at least to profess regret. He leaves for his daughter’s remote farm, where he’s gradually brought to realise that racial integration is a bad joke and that both colours, like the dogs David helps put down, are caged, mistreated or killed at random, without reference to their actions. It’s an enormously complicated story with great potential for reductive schmaltz, but this is avoided thanks to Anna Maria Monticelli’s sharp, sensitive screenplay and superb performances from Jessica Haines and, particularly, Malkovich as Lurie, a self-described ‘beast’ as isolated and conflicted as the country he inhabits.
Author: Nina Caplan