HEART OF DARKNESS(TV) (director: Nicolas Roeg; screenwriters: novel by Joseph Conrad/Benedict Fitzgerald; cinematographer: Anthony B. Richmond; editor: Louise Rubacky; music: Stanley Myers; cast: Tim Roth (Marlow), John Malkovich (Kurtz), James Fox (Gosse), Isaach De Bankolé(Mfumu), Morten Faldaas(Harlequin), Patrick Ryecart(De Griffe); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Luc Roeg/Rick Rosenberg/Bob Christiansen; Turner Home Video; 1993)
“It’s a faithful and respectable version of Conrad’s great classic, but not one that’s memorable or exciting.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Eccentric Brit director Nicolas Roeg (“Performance”/”Track 29″/”Two Deaths”)adapts Joseph Conrad’s 1902 novel about a young British colonialist in Africa who journeys up the Congo River, where he finds a civilized man who has succumbed to uncontrollable greed, debauchery and megalomania. The flat teleplay is Benedict Fitzgerald’s fault, the lethargic pace is Roeg’s fault.
Ambitious sailor Marlow (Tim Roth) is employed by a British trading company to go on a secret mission to find Kurtz (John Malkovich), who works for the company as a manager running a successful remote outpost in the Belgian Congo (Belize subbing for the Congo) and supplying them with ivory by exploiting the natives in trade. Kurtz has disappeared without a word and the company wants answers why they are no longer securing the valuable ivory.
Marlow goesup the river accompanied by his native guide Mfumu (Isaach De Bankolé), and will eventually find that Kurtz has gone native and has become worshiped as a god and is also greatly feared for the punishments he hands out to the natives who break his rules. Kurtz has turned into a monster driven to madness by disease and his hunger for power.
It’s a faithful and respectable version of Conrad’s great classic, but not one that’s memorable or exciting.
REVIEWED ON 2/24/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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