Cry Freedom [1987]

Sir Richard Attenborough (Gandhi) directs this semi-successful drama about the relationship between South African black activist Steven Biko and a sympathetic newspaper editor (Kevin Kline). Attenborough's typical sweep of the life and times of Biko is particularly rewarding in the first half of the film, but once the leader comes to his untimely end at the hands of white police, the story shifts entirely to Kline's character and the latter's efforts to escape the country with his family. That change is a tactical error in the script that robs the film of its initial power and makes the arguably unfortunate choice of emphasizing the destiny of a white character when Biko himself deserved an entire feature for his story and causes. --Tom Keogh

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