Friday 04 December 2009
The visionary gravity of J M Coetzee's Booker-winning novel is perhaps untranslatable to the screen, but Steve Jacobs's film is a very creditable try.
A bold one, too, in casting John Malkovich, the lizard king, as the lead. He plays a Cape Town University professor who, following a ruinous affair with a student, refuses to defend himself to the authorities. Disgraced, he resigns and travels to the remote farmstead of his daughter, Lucy (Jessica Haines). Up to this point Malkovich is his usual mannered seducer-creep, but after a violent break-in that leaves father and daughter physically scarred and subtly estranged from one another, the film becomes a haunting, even harrowing, meditation on the tainted legacy of white rule in South Africa. The cool restraint of Jacobs's direction is humanised by the affecting performances of Haines and, in the second half, Malkovich himself as a man who knows he's whipped – "like a dog" – with nowhere left to go.
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Arts & Ents blogs
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- 4 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 5 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
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Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
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BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever