Disgrace

"Very Good"

Disgrace Review


Slow-paced and quietly involving, this drama, based on a JM Coetzee novel, is so packed with big issues that it sometimes feels like a bit too much. But it's provocative and fascinating, and never offers any easy answers.

David (Malkovich) is a professor at a Cape Town university who shocks the community with his unrepentant attitude toward a manipulative affair he has with a student (Engel). Shamed into leaving his post, he goes to live with his daughter Lucy (Haines) on her remote farm, where he helps Lucy's friend Bev (Press) in her work at a local animal sanctuary. After a nasty event, David is unnerved to discover that Lucy has given some land to her farmhand Petrus (Ebouaney) and that she's happy for Petrus to have the upper hand.

This is a complex, challenging look at issues facing post-Apartheid South Africa, and some of the nuances of the situation might be lost on foreign audiences. But the film is so well-made that it has the ability to get under our skin and constantly surprise us with our own reactions as we keep switching sides in various debates that perhaps seem unrelated. The filmmakers are exploring issues of power here, and their approach is anything but simplistic.

Malkovich is a superb presence at the centre of the film: quietly intense, a little creepy and thoroughly believable as a man who has chosen to ignore whatever society tells him to do. Most impressive is how he continually wins our sympathy, against the odds, and helps us understand the larger issues that are roaring under the surface. His scenes with the excellent Haines are terrific, as are his more open-handed moments with Press. The whole cast effortlessly blends raw emotion with sharp wit.

So it's a bit strange that a film so packed with solid material could feel so aloof and untouchable. Kind of like David himself, this story plays with principles but doesn't really act on them. And as the film blurs the lines between power and desire, it starts to feel heavy and rather grim, like a twisted fable about a nation that hasn't quite begun to find a way out of its own dark history.



Disgrace

Facts and Figures

Run time: 119 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 18th June 2009

Distributed by: Maximum Film Distribution

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 47 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Steve Jacobs

Producer: Anna Maria Monticelli, , Steve Jacobs

Starring: as David Lurie, as Petrus, Natalie Becker as Soraya, Antoinette Engel as Melanie Isaacs

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.