|HOME | MOVIES | REVIEWS|
|September 23, 2000||
The Kuki crumbles...
This is a film that is torturously slow in the beginning and highly aimless thereafter. The kind of film where, when creatures of the wild attacked the humans, I root for the four-legged beings rather than the people.
The story, if one may optimistically call it that, is based on the real life memoirs of noted conservationist Kuki Gallman (Kim Basinger) -- an upper class, divorced Italian woman who falls in love with and marries the handsome adventurer Paolo Gallman (Vincent Perez).
She then moves to Africa with her new husband and her seven-year-old son Emanuele (Liam Aiken, later played by Garrett Strommen) to seek a new life on a ranch in Kenya.
Kuki's life in Africa swings between motherhood, wifely duties, futile attempts at keeping her errant husband away from life-threatening activities and facing a string of nature's most impressive disasters that include snake bites, diseased cattle, sandstorms and run-ins with lions and elephants.
A beautiful blonde socialite searching for depth. A fierce and passionate love story. A universal desire to discover adventure, lose one's inhibitions and meet the challenges of life. Real sadness woven into determined triumphs. A journey of self-exploration amidst the glorious and fierce African foliage.
This movie had all the ingredients necessary to send any filmmaker into raptures. But Hugh Hudson's (Chariots of Fire, 1981), pictorially extravagant but dramatically trite presentation makes for unpalatable viewing. This is one African safari you can miss without any qualms.
Many feel that Kim Basinger should have quit acting after the steamy Nine-And-A-Half Weeks. Yet others are of the opinion that she should have gracefully retired after winning the Oscar for L A Confidential.
I Dreamed Of Africa settles this difference of opinion admirably well.
Now, all will agree that she should throw in the towel after her bloodless portrayal of a woman whose resolve to stare adversity in the face will seem, depending on your outlook, stock of patience and capacity for charity, appear either heroic or immensely idiotic.
However, in her defense, she pulls out the stops in a few crucial scenes. But these are too rare and far between.
Unfortunately, Kim Basinger is the best thing that happened to this film.
Perez is easy on the eyes and typifies the exotic lover. Apart from that, he's too busy braving the wilds to come up with any worthwhile performance.
A meaningful script would have helped further the movie's cause. It is replete with empty pronouncements and confrontations that are set up but never executed.
As if to compensate for this dearth of dialogue, the film offers Kuki's voiceovers. Regrettably, they inject as much enthusiasm into the lifeless proceedings as a tooth cavity would.
Even the cinematography submits to old clichés. Bernard Lutic creates a sweeping panorama of Africa which, while beautiful, rehashes National Geographic imagery.
Drawing comparisons to such Man Vs Nature films as the Oscar-winning Meryl Streep-Robert Redford starrer Out of Africa, A Far Off Place, Born Free, and The Ghost And The Darkness, all that I Dreamed of Africa has in common with its more illustrious counterparts is the lush setting.
Needless to say, we do feel sincere admiration for the real Kuki Gallmann, a woman of remarkable resilience and strength. Her story must have been a lot more interesting and moving than it was to watch.
The real story of Kuki starts off where the movie ends. But I'm not waiting for a sequel.
Tell us what you think of this review
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK