What better outcome could Lumumba have gotten out of this situation than to be shot? The truest case of damned if you, damned if you don’t that I have yet seen.
What lies at the heart of this film, is the idea that power corrupts – but not equally. The truth is that any country, without mechanisms which prevent government power (and even then…), are likely to be taken by opportunists. It’s not even that the dictators were bad to start with, just that foreign and local interests have given them the confidence to unlock their hidden potential for evil.
This film makes one realize just how rare and precious truly peaceful revolutions are (and I include the post-revolution period). It makes me appreciate that my homeland of South Africa, despite heavy government corruption and deliberately divisive rhetoric, is one of the lucky ones. But if Mandela were in Lumumba’s shoes, I don’t know what he could have done to stem the inevitable downfall. This film is surprisingly even handed, and it is that which gives the film its potency and horror. The great evil is human nature, and not even Lumumba can defeat that.
It’s not a boring film either. Though it is obviously shot on a budget, the film crackles with the fire of injustice and is lead by a blazing performance from Eriq Ebouaney. Africa is alive.