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Red Dust (HBO) (2006)

Hilary Swank , Tom Hooper  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Hilary Swank
  • Directors: Tom Hooper
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FDEV1Q
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,782 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Red Dust (HBO)" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Red Dust (DVD)

Red Dust, Tom Hooper’s film chronicling police abuse and corruption in contemporary South Africa, reminds the viewer that apartheid and racism are hardly, if at all, things of the past. Chiweitel Ejiofor plays Alex Mpondo, a black man who is brutally tortured in prison by office Dirk Hendricks (Jamie Bartlett), for his involvement with local civil rights movements. Imprisoned for his brutal treatment of Mpondo, Hendricks requests amnesty and a court trial is organized, for which lawyer Sarah Barcant (Hilary Swank) is recruited to defend Mpondo. Mpondo is a highly-regarded politician, necessitating a subtle defense approach to preserve his career. Sarah defends Mpondo by publicly exposing another aspect of Hendricks’s dirty business: the killing of Mpondo’s friend and ex-political ally, Steve Sizela. As this extremely thick plot unfolds, the viewer begins to understand corruption’s complex nature. Cinematically, Red Dust features stunning panoramas of the South African landscape as well as some traditional African ceremonies that both fascinate and educate the average American as to how shocking it must be for a true African to assimilate into white culture. This film interprets not only Mpondo’s perspective, but, like the novels of Graham Greene or Sheila Kohler, it assesses white guilt in colonial countries. For this reason, Red Dust has an almost documentary feel, though its dramatic narrative makes its fiction clear, as a way to distance the viewer from real pain. --Trinie Dalton

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
After the end of Apartheid in South Africa the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was set up as a court-like body that would hear the stories of victims of violence, while perpetrators of violence could also provide testimony and ask for amnesty from prosecution. The idea was to put the past behind and move forward, but only by fully acknowledging the atrocities of the past. I think of what happened when Mary Tudor returned the Catholics to the English throne and the blood purge that took place and how her sister Elizabeth Tudor refused to return the bloody favor when she became Queen. Gerald Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon also comes to mind, and the desire to end the nightmare and move on. The TRC had the virtue of forgiving, but not forgetting, providing of course that people admitted their crimes, otherwise they would still be liable for prosecution and punishment.

"Red Dust" is one of several films that have been made about the work of the TRC, which includes the 2000 documentary "Long Night's Journey Into Day." It is important that we understand there are other films about the TRC out there because the story of "Red Dust" is really a variation on the main theme and not a direct look at what happened with the TRC in South Africa. In 2004 there was South African film "Forgiveness" about a disgraced ex-cop seeking forgiveness from the family of an activist he killed, "Country of My Skull" had Samuel L. Jackson as an American reporter looking into the case of the most notorious torturer in the South African police, and "Zulu Love Letter" is about a journalist who has to face the demons of her past because of these public hearing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Yvonne
This is a deeply moving depiction of the painful and difficult, yet morally essential, process of finding truth and arriving at forgiveness through the relatively recent and important work of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Besides the substance of the story, much of the cinematography is beautiful.

Reviewing the book by the same title, by Gillian Slovo, on which the film is based, Publishers Weekly said "underscores that 'the full truth' is more complex than court transcript or verdict can ever reveal. ...The reader can almost taste the dust and feel the heat of the stultifying locale; the scatter of words in Afrikaans enhances the absorbing, fast-paced narrative. Amnesty hearings are meant to bring closure to the violent period that ended apartheid by forgiving crimes by former officials, where possible. But this powerful novel full of legal and emotional twists and turns strips bare the torment forever ingrained in victim and jailer alike, a torment that runs through all segments of post-apartheid society."


And these comments apply to the film as well. Deserves widespread viewing, though parts of it are difficult to watch because of the brutality, pain, and sorrow shown so vividly. But then that's what makes the film excellent and important.

Thank you, HBO.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch this film. March 5, 2012
This is an excellent film that forces one to ponder the ethics of the TRC in South Africa. I was particularly impressed by its representation of the grieving parents and of the complexities of the dynamics of the freedom movement in the post-apartheid era. This is not just a good film to watch if you are interested in South Africa. It is a good film period, for anyone in any country to watch.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
`Red Dust' released in '04 is a well produced, intelligent drama dealing with amnesty and apartheid in South Africa. This is not a true life account like the story of Steven Biko as chronicled in the '87 film `Cry Freedom' but it still carries quite an impact none-the-less. Obviously the distributors of this DVD wanted to make this comparison with the Denziel Washington, Kevin Kline movie, just look at the covers of both DVD's and the similarity will become immediately apparent.

Similar or not, `Red Dust' is an engaging wonderfully acted film that can stand on its own merits and boasts two stars of equal caliber, Hilary Swank and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

True or fictional `Red Dust' is a thought provoking film on the Civil Rights movement in South Africa that deserves a viewing or two. Place it next to `Cry Freedom' in your DVD library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Red Dust February 3, 2014
By lynette
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
We really enjoyed the story, since which I have seen it for a third time.
Yes I would recommend other to watch it at least once. To each it's
own, those kind of movies and action are the ones I really like.
Quality was good too.
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