Country of My Skull

Country of My Skull (2004)Country of My Skull” (aka “In My Country”) is the newest movie starring Samuel L. Jackson. That’s all I knew about his movie when I rented it today.

Directed by: John Boorman
Genres: Drama
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Juliette Binoche, Brendan Gleeson, Menzi Ngubane, Sam Ngakane, Aletta Bezuidenhout, Lionel Newton, Langley Kirkwood, Owen Sejake, Harriet Lenabe, Louis Van Niekerk, Jeremiah Ndlovu, Fiona Ramsey, Dan Robbertse, Robert Hobbs
IMDB raintg: 5.8
My rating: 3.0 ***

I have a difficult relationship with African movies movies about Africa.

On one hand, I am completely ignorant of all political events that took place on the continent. And what’s even worth is that I don’t care enough to push myself towards reading and education. Many films show some civil wars, revolutions, and other conflicts involving military. All of these result in humans suffering, but without proper background all these suffering is just suffering to me. That is I can’t really relate to it in any way.

On the other hand, I guess it is pretty impossible to make a film about Africa and have bad photography in it. I understand that Africa is a very exotic, but so are other continents too. But somehow only the very talanted photography professionals end up in the crew.

Country of My Skull” is not an exception here. Human suffering and outstanding photography are two distinct characteristics of this film.

I was bored though. The movie is very slowly paced and really badly flawed. Dialogues are terrible. Music is very tiring – mostly one or two national group singings. Colorful, but boring for long periods of time.

The story is based on a book. The book is not really a book, like any other book, but a journalistic diary more of a thing. Or so I understood from the bonus features. Well maybe it’s that journalistic bit or maybe it’s just Africa, or maybe it’s the combination of these two that made the story very dry and very shallow at places.

I also couldn’t completely figure out what the film was all about. The first part looked like a typical office romance movie. It than got a strong anti-racism tilt. Than it turned into a bit of phylosophy and history. Than it went into personal drama area. Than it became a journalistic detective. Than it tried to be a relationship drama. Than back to phylosophy. Than to romance. Than again to something. O’come now! Decide for film sake what is going to be about. As it is it looks like an experiment in search for genre.

Acting was bad. Samuel L. Jackson tried his best, but he didn’t have much to work with. And it was obvious. I was wondering for his reasons to work on this film. Maybe these were personal or maybe it was related to some previous engagements. But as I understood it, starring Jackson was mostly a promotional (read: marketing) solution. My guess was confirmed when I saw special features on the DVD. In the special features there was a list of interviews. The menu featured the huge picture of Jackson. But there was no interview with Jackson. Instead I was offered everyone else and their brother. Boring. Skipped most of them on fast forward. Oh, and Juliette Binoche looked like a cheap version of Julia Roberts.

Overall: watch this film for photography only. You can easily mix it with beer, nuts, and babysitting.

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