Friday, August 14, 2009

THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS (1996)

After a long time I watched an exciting adventure thriller set in Africa with the backdrop of what Africa is famous for- ‘the wild lions’. Many years ago I watched a wild lion film named ‘Savage Harvest’ when I was a kid and terrified by it; I must say this one is way better than it and more exciting and particular one in setting the tone of haunting myth/reality about African lions.

In 19th century a courageous English Engineer John Patterson (Val Kilmer) was sent to East Africa to build a railway bridge. He has a deadline looming over his head with large workforce of Africans and Indians to get job done in time. On his first day to duty he won the hearts of slave workers by killing a lion with first shot but it didn’t last very long. Soon two new lions started their men eating mission. The film is based on true event and locals named these lions as ‘the ghost’ and ‘the darkness’. After losing so many innocent victims, a hunter best for his duty named Remington (Michael Douglas) was hired but even his reputation remained at stake while unable to prevent the dead toll.

Both leading men- Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas acted what’s expected from them and their chemistry works. African actor John Kani as Samuel, the helping guide of Kilmer also shared noticeable presence in his supporting role. Surprisingly India’s one of the finest actor Om Puri also had a small role here too but the character he played is so ridiculous, irritating and quite insignificant. I wonder why he had done this role!!!
Director Stephen Hopkins has successfully maintained the fear factor with many thrilling moments of hunting scenes. If you interpret film from the laws of nature, the lions seem to be symbols of wild and indifferent nature and the engineer who’s building the bridge in the African jungle as human race blinded by progressive exploration constantly trying to defy natural setting of forest by building railroad. One more reason why I like the film is that it didn’t glorified the adventure against natural law like common Hollywood entertainers.
The film won single Oscar for its sound effects.

Ratings- 7.5/10

A big thanks to buddy Vikram aka Athiradee for the recommendation.

1 comment:

Vikram said...

A very honest film. Good performances from Michael Douglas & Val Kilmer