Another film about a white master and a black servant from the director of Driving Miss Daisy. Colonial West Africa, c.1920: Rudbeck (Brosnan) is a fastidious English District Officer, Johnson (Eziashi) his chief clerk, a native more English than the English. William Boyd, who adapted Joyce Cary's novel for the film, has compared Johnson to Falstaff and Candide; but a character who lived in his own right on the page picks up all kind of social baggage when projected on to the screen. Here, despite Eziashi's droll performance, Johnson comes to embody an offensive, regressive racial stereotype. A colonial sensibility runs through the film, despite the trite disavowals that pepper the script. It misfires drastically, but Beresford's anonymous direction at least apes some received notion of 'quality'. He photographs the landscape prettily, and the film is neatly turned. Eminently respectable, in fact.
Cast and crew