A Reasonable Man

A Reasonable Man

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

A white South African lawyer in his premier attempt as writer/director/actor has succeeded where many a veteran filmmaker has failed. Without being patronising, he attempts to understand the validity of Zulu village superstition, within the context of a capital murder case.

Gavin Hood has based his courtroom drama on the famous trial of a herdsman who was accused of killing a one-year-old child, believing it to be an evil spirit. He has updated the story to involve aspects of the democratic rainbow nation, in which black advocates are quick to take offense and old fogeys, such as the judge (Nigel Hawthorne at his prickly best), still remain as upholders of another kind of justice.

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Hood plays the defense attorney who becomes embroiled in the affair from the beginning and slowly is sucked into a world of witchcraft and magic potions. Far from being the pastiche of a voodoo-style horror flick, this is intelligent, wonderfully acted by the African cast and genuinely absorbing.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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A Reasonable Man packshot
Courtroom drama about a herdsman accused of killing a baby.

Director: Gavin Hood

Writer: Gavin Hood

Starring: Gavin Hood, Nigel Hawthorne, Janine Eser, Nandi Nyembe, Ian Roberts, Vusi Kunene

Year: 1999

Runtime: 103 minutes

Country: France, South Africa

Festivals:

EIFF 1999

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