Cry Freedom – ***

Posted: January 20, 2015 in 1987, biopic, Drama, Historical, Political, Social Drama, South Africa, USA, XXX

Being in South Africa makes you check out classic movies you’ve heard about but never bothered to watch. Cry Freedom is one of those must see. It’s stars Denzel Washington as Biko, an activist from the seventies fighting against the Apartheid regime. He has a supporting role and is excellent. He dies in the movie, which isn’t really a big surprise if you know your history a bit. The main character is played by an equally excellent Kevin Kline, who portrays a liberal editor of a newspaper that is critical to the government.

The first part introduces the two brave men and show how they start a fragile friendship. The second part focuses on the threats uttered against the editor who wants to tell the world that Biko did not die of a ’hunger strike’. And the finale is a tense escape thriller as he tries to get across the border to Lesotho and ask for political asylum.

It’s a long movie, but one that never bores. It’s historically accurate, but a lot of drama was added for the sake of entertainment. The police and minister of justice are depicted as nazi-like oppressors, the black population as saintly victims. Good vs evil works well in a story like this, but recent movies (by f.i. Quentin Tarantino) have shown that the bad guys can be cool too and that the good guys can be pretty badass as well.

It’s nevertheless an important must see with excellent acting and brilliant dialogue. It’s easy to understand why they add the scene of the Soweto massacre of 1976 at the end, but it really doesn’t fit well with the rest of the story. But hey. It was made in the eighties when the West reacted against Apartheid by means of economic boycott and cultural events… It helped (maybe).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092804

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