Tuesday, October 06, 2009

of the
Part 11

I recently reviewed the following film for Video Lib-
, and thought the results were worth sharing.

ENDGAME [***1/2]
(Pete Travis, UK, 2008, 109 mins.)

An all-star cast populates this historical thriller about op-
positional figures who find common ground for the better-
ment of their country. While Clint Eastwood’s upcoming bio-
pic, Invictus, focuses on Nelson Mandela (played by Mor-
gan Freeman), Vantage Point director Pete Travis spot-
lights South Africa’s lesser known political players.

Taking cues from Robert
Harvey’s book, The Fall of
Apartheid, Paula Milne’s
script begins in 1985 when
mild-mannered Briton Mi-
chael Young (Eli Stone's
Jonny Lee Miller), public
affairs director for Consoli-
dated Goldfields, meets charismatic African National Congress
delegate Thabo Mbeki (Redbelt’s Chiwetel Ejiofor), and con-
cludes with the release of imprisoned ANC leader Mandela (The
Wire’s Clarke Peters), paving the way for the democracy to come.

In looking out for his company’s best interests, Young seeks
to help dismantle the nation’s racist infrastructure, seeing it
as a mutually beneficial outcome (Derek Jacobi plays his
supervisor). In the process, he recruits Afrikaaner philos-
ophy professor Will Esterhuyse (Oscar winner William
Hurt) to lead the talks between the two sides.

From the start, however,
Mbeki makes it clear that he
envisions a return to majori-
ty rule rather than a power-
share. Though sympathetic,
Esterhuyse fears that this will
lead to widespread retaliation
for decades of discrimination. As they come to trust each oth-
er, a way forward emerges, despite the attempts by President
P.W. Botha (Timothy West) and National Intelligence Service
agent Dr. Niel Barnard (Mark Strong) to discredit Mbeki.

Originally broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 in May (to surprising-
ly low ratings), Endgame airs in the US as part of PBS’s Master-
piece Contemporary series (and in a limited theatrical release).
Travis and Milne do a fine job in recounting an important stor-
y, but Ejiofor and Hurt give it heart. Highly recommended.

Click here for Movie of the Month, Part 10: An Audience of One

PBS PREVIEWS / Masterpiece Contemporary: Endgame

Endnote: Not to be confused with the Sam Beckett joint, End-
game airs on PBS stations, including KCTS 9, on 10/25 and in
theaters on 10/30 (check local listings for your area). Slight-
ly revised from the original text. Images from Ace Show-
(Copyright © Monterey Media. All Rights Reserved).

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