KILLING HEAT (THE GRASS IS SINGING/GRASET SJUNGER)
(director/writer: Michael Raeburn; screenwriter: based on the Doris Lessing novel The Grass is Singing; cinematographer: Bille August; editor: Thomas Schwalm; music: Björn Isfält/Lasse Dahlberg; cast: Karen Black (Mary Turner), John Thaw (Dick Turner), John Kani (Moses), Patrick Mynhards (Charlie Muller), John-Moulder Brown (Tony Marston); Runtime: 108; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Mark Forstater; Synergy Entertainment (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment); 1981-UK/Sweden-in English)
“Never quite clicks.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
First-time filmmaker Michael Raeburn’s (“The Wedding Gift”/”Jit”/”Home Sweet Home”) adaptation of Doris Lessing’s novel “The Grass is Singin” never quite clicks. It was filmed in Zambia, however, giving it an exotic look. The sluggish pic never catches fire, as we observe a marriage between opposites that can’t work because only the hubby is comfortable in the surroundings.
Spoiled professional American career city gal Karen Black (getting her South African accent right) marries bush farmer John Thaw, and has a tough time adjusting to life on his remote African farm. Eventually she has a nervous break-down, while hubby acts irritable and houseboy John Kani efficiently does his houseboy thing.
But Karen showers in the nude and that’s the most exciting thing the pic has to offer. After learning in the opening that she dies, there’s not much else to hold our interest. Her efforts to assimilate into the foreign culture only made me yearn to see more revealing body shots of the well-built actress or more of the stunningly beautiful location landscape shots of Africa or, perhaps, another movie.
REVIEWED ON 8/19/2015 GRADE: C+