A United Kingdom Review
Director: Amma Asante.
Grange Hill star Amma Asante brings us an impressive love story that helped mould the foundations of modern Botswana, detailing the controversial marriage that challenged not only the nation, but its African neighbours and the British Empire whose protectorate they were under.
David Oyelowo superbly plays Seretse Khama, the rightful heir to the chiefdom and king of Bechuanaland, the African nation to become Botswana in later years. However, due to his father, Sekgoma Khama passing away when Seretse was only 4, his uncle, acting as regent, sent him away to England to be educated and help prepare him for leadership.
During this time in England, Seretse meets Ruth and they both fall madly in love with each other totally ignoring the differences and impact their relationship will have on the rest of the world. Oyelowo reunites with Rosamund Pike since Jack Reacher expressing great chemistry between them as the story focuses on the bond and love for one another.
David Oyelowo give his greatest performance with inspiring speeches and a strong emotional presence; and Rosamund Pike too, gives possibly her best performance to date whilst not having as much to say, she conveys the frustration and hurt brilliantly as both stand together against the will of everyone else.
Strong supporting cast too, with Pirates' Norrington, Jack Davenport giving a brilliant, smarmy portrayal of British representative Alistair Canning. His diction is superb, as is Draco's, Tom Felton's as his second in commander. Terry Pheto and Vusi Kunene also giving great support adding key scenes to the story.
The set locations are brilliant, superbly shot and well paced and balanced, giving great contrast between London and Serowe. London being the cold yet majestic, revered city that she is and Serowe being hot, yet vibrant and welcoming. One downside was Patrick Doyle's score; not saying it's bad, not at all, but that's only because I don't remember hearing it. It could be amazing, and I'm a fan of Doyle's work but it's unnoticeable here.
What's good about this film is that it's made me angry at what a Government, such as the British, did to a nation and their rightful rulers, making me feel almost ashamed of myself for not being aware of this incredible story. It's good to find a film that can influence you and better still, change your perspective of an ideal or something you would otherwise believe in. But in that same vein, it's warming to know not everyone is the same, and are prepared to shout against the oppression. It's an amazing example, if not symbolic of how powerful one can be, and is almost a reflection of our current affairs, which should beg us to question the current leaders of world.
I wouldn't go as far to say it's an all out romance, yes, the very foundation of the story is based on their love for each other but it's also highly political and constructive, being more than just a love story. It's inspiring, touching, shocking and powerful. It's a film about having the courage to stand for what you believe in, for what matters to you most, going up against any adversary no matter how big or powerful, even one as strong as the British Empire.
"No man is free who is not master of himself."
Running Time: 8
The Cast: 9
Job Description: 8
The Extra Bonus Point: 10 for entwining a truly romantic story with politics, producing an inspirational, educational story.
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Yes.