Search

A United Kingdom, review: ‘There’s a Richard Attenborough feel in its calm and dignity’

13:00 28 November 2016

Oyelowo and Pike star in A United Kingdom directed by Amma Asante

Oyelowo and Pike star in A United Kingdom directed by Amma Asante

Archant

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike star in the true story-telling of Seretse Kwama and his wife Ruth as they battle against apartheid

The title might lead you to expect an unflinching examination of our present day problems and divisions, but this offers instead a look back at our past failings.

That is the British way. It is the late forties, and Seretse Kwama (David Oyelowo) is an African prince being educated in England so that he can go back to lead his people in the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland (what is now Botswana) and take over from his uncle (Vusi Kunene).

But when he marries a white English woman (Rosamund Pike) the hostile reaction to Kwama’s decision is instant. His family shuns him and the British, under pressure from the apartheid regime in South Africa, exile him.

He has to fight to get back to his country and unite his people.

Like its protagonists, the film always retains its calm and dignity. The Richard Attenborough tradition hangs over the film: there are stirring speeches and shows of fortitude.

Like any good British occasion the whole thing runs smoothly and to time. Its saving grace is a curiosity about the wider world beyond the central stand against intolerance.

Davenport and Felton are there to fulfill the roles of the superior, condescending British diplomats, but the other bad guys do get to put their side of the story.

Clement Attlee explains to a young Tony Benn why it is was a financial necessity for an impoverished post war Britain not to alienate resource rich South Africa; when he returns the uncle reminds him that he was sent away to prepare to lead his people, to put his people before his own happiness.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Entertainment Stories

Yesterday, 12:59

The Gazette samples the tapas at Brindisa Shoreditch, where Spain’s artisan producers are celebrated.

Yesterday, 12:00

The Old Dairy reopens with a new menu that leaves ZOE PASKETT craving just about all of the dishes they have on offer

Yesterday, 08:00

The salon:collective is presenting The Tempest using cue-script preparation, which means there is no group rehearsal prior to the performances. To top that off, the actors don’t find out who plays who until an hour before the show.

Mon, 18:09

Well, that’s one way to get people to come to church. St John-at-Hackney will host Robbie Williams for a one-off gig next week.

Mon, 08:00

ZOE PASKETT visits a new exhibition with a little more than a touch of voyeurism, in an occupied bedroom in a Hackney house share

Friday, December 2, 2016

The 40th Spitalfields Music Winter Festival opens on Sunday in London’s East End with a mix of Early music, classical Bach, jazz, Swing—and even opera for babies.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The new film, conceived by comedian Kojo, follows three friends as they set out on a spending spree, only to find out the gangster who owns the money is less than pleased.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bridget Galton talks to Rudi Dharmalingam about playing a radicalised 16th Century fanatic in Mary Stuart at the Almeida

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read entertainment

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now