Capitalism and colonialism intertwine like a two-headed snake in this ponderous but well-made film. Director Bruce Beresford's modestly scaled followup to Oscar winner Driving Miss Daisy suffers from a slow, marginally involving storyline.

Capitalism and colonialism intertwine like a two-headed snake in this ponderous but well-made film. Director Bruce Beresford’s modestly scaled followup to Oscar winner Driving Miss Daisy suffers from a slow, marginally involving storyline.

Pic’s foremost discovery is Nigerian actor Maynard Eziashi in the title role as a young African obsessed with British mores, resourcefully working outside the rigid limits of his colonial clerkship.

Johnson uses that knack to help his boss Rudbeck (Pierce Brosnan) build a road connecting their small outpost to the outside world, though his consistent circumvention of proper channels eventually catches up with him and proves his downfall.

Working from a 1939 novel by Joyce Carey set in the 1920s, Beresford and writer William Boyd have delivered a film strangely devoid of emotion and lacking a clear point of view.

Brosnan’s straight-legged bureaucrat proves so stiff and lifeless there’s no sense of caring in any direction, toward either his wife (Beatie Edney) or Johnson. Edward Woodward injects much-needed life into the staid proceedings as a vulgar expatriate English shop owner, a boozy bigot.

Mr. Johnson

Production

Fitzgerald. Director Bruce Beresford; Producer Michael Fitzgerald; Screenplay William Boyd; Camera Peter James; Editor Humphrey Dixon; Music Georges Delerue; Art Director Herbert Pinter

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1990. Running time: 103 MIN.

With

Maynard Eziashi Pierce Brosnan Edward Woodward Beatie Edney Denis Quilley

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more
Post A Comment 0