The story of Steven Biko, a South African black activist, and his friendship with white journalist Donald Woods. When Biko (Denzel Washington) is killed, Woods (Kevin Kline) mounts an investigation into his death. Harassed by the South African government as a result, Woods is placed under house arrest. He manages to escape and risks his life in order to bring the true story of Biko's death to the world.
Sir Richard Attenborough (Gandhi
) directs this semi-successful drama about the relationship between South African black activist Steven Biko and a sympathetic newspaper editor (Kevin Kline
). Attenborough's typical sweep of the life and times of Biko is particularly rewarding in the first half of the film, but once the leader comes to his untimely end at the hands of white police, the story shifts entirely to Kline's character and the latter's efforts to escape the country with his family. That change is a tactical error in the script that robs the film of its initial power and makes the arguably unfortunate choice of emphasizing the destiny of a white character when Biko himself deserved an entire feature for his story and causes. --Tom Keogh
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