Guest / Limited Access /
In My Country
Our Rating
2 Stars - Fair
Average Rating
(not rated yet)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
R (for language, including descriptions of atrocities, and for a scene of violence)
Directed By
John Boorman
Run Time
1 hour 45 minutes
Samuel L. Jackson, Juliette Binoche, Brendan Gleeson, Menzi Ngubane
Theatre Release
May 07, 2004 by Sony Pictures Classics

South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings deserve a film like Schindler's List or Hotel Rwanda—something that brings that historical drama to life in a way that helps us shoulder the burden of history and walk away wiser. In My Country tries to be that film, but falls short.

The hearings, which started in 1996 and lasted two years, gave more than 20,000 witnesses a chance to testify—2,000 publicly—against their predominantly white oppressors in a courtroom. Even more astonishing: The hearings were not about retribution. They were carried on to give the world a demonstration of principled forgiveness and "ubuntu" (a South African word for reconciliation). The accused could attempt to explain their behavior, and they could appeal for amnesty if they could prove that they were "just following orders" and were politically motivated in their violence.

Clearly, director John Boorman had the resources at his disposal to make a powerful, affecting drama. He had the gorgeous backdrop of the lush South African landscape. He had three supremely talented actors—Samuel Jackson, Juliette Binoche, and Brendan Gleeson—in the leading roles. And he had a vast reservoir of eyewitness testimonies about racial violence that he could have used to educate a dismayingly ignorant Western audience. Those must have been amazing scenes that played out in those makeshift courtrooms, as the wronged South Africans confronted their oppressors in court with spirit-crushing stories of murder, rape, and mutilation. We hear several devastating stories based on actual transcripts. A woman begs to have the severed hand of her son back, so she has something to bury. Another weeps for her husband, who was stabbed ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
TrendingBill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
Bill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
(UPDATED) Popular seminar speaker: 'I have failed to live out some of the very things that I have taught.'
Editor's PickYou Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
You Probably Love (or Hate) 'Heaven Is For Real' for All the Wrong Reasons
It's not a travel guide. And Colton Burpo isn't the first Christian to have an ecstatic experience.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

March 2005

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.