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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.