In 1968, James Gregory (Joseph Fiennes) and his family are transferred to Robben Island off Cape Town where he will work as a censor; over time he comes to respect Nelson Mandela (Dennis Haysbert). A white man’s awakening is the theme of this OK but awfully bland drama. We never learn anything we didn’t know before, we never feel like we truly get to know the characters, and when 20 years have passed in the film people haven’t aged in a believable way. Partly shot on Robben Island, but good intentions is not enough.
2007-Germany-France-Belgium-South Africa-Italy-Britain. 118 min. Color. Widescreen. Directed by Bille August. Novel: James Gregory, Bob Graham. Cast: Joseph Fiennes (James Gregory), Dennis Haysbert (Nelson Mandela), Diane Kruger (Gloria Gregory), Shiloh Henderson, Patrick Lyster, Faith Ndukwana.
Trivia: Alternative title: The Color of Freedom. Some of the ingredients are highly controversial; Gregory’s friendship with Mandela has been disputed by other friends of the former President’s.