A Far Off Place
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Reese Witherspoon plays Nonnie Parker and Ethan Embry her reluctant friend Harry. Both kids are living with their parents in rural Africa when their home is attacked by Ivory poachers. With their bushman friend Xhabbo as a guide the kids take off across the Kalahari desert to reach the safety of the coast and nearest town, while the poachers plan to kill off their only witnesses.
A Far Off Place opens with the massacre of a herd of elephants. The killers themselves are then mercilessly gunned down by supporting hero Col. Theron. Would Disney DARE allow a scene like this in the 21st Century? Look at the quality of Tim Allen's The Shaggy Dog and you'll find your answer. For any family-orientated movie it takes some nerve to open with killing such as this but even 16-year-old Nonnie herself is at ease yielding a rifle and doesn't hesitate to blow-up bad guys.
The African desert scenery is gorgeous and director Mikael Salomon (who also made the underrated Hard Rain) fills the movie with lovely cinematography. The dunes, the blue sky, the night sky...it all makes you wish for a sunny holiday.
A Far Off Place (a combination of two novels "A Story Like the Wind" and "A Far-Off Place" by Laurens Van der Post) is not a well known movie and is quite hard to find, but it's worth hunting down. A shame that such a good movie has fallen off the radar.
Critics may claim the film is a little two-dimensional, and in fairness, they are right. But by not trying to make the film too grand through obvious artifice, the good performances and great scenery let this film become memorable in a simple, direct way that's very much in harmony with the essence of the story: we don't always get to choose our circumstances, and how we react in those times may literally become a matter of life and death.
Two other minor themes help make this a favorite: the Reese Witherspoon character is a great role model for any young girl - sensitive and feminine without being a wimpy or dependent ingrate; and a rare and even-handed portrayal of the firearm as a tool - no better or worse than the purpose to which it is put by a human master.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Awesome, awesome movie! I use it to teach my students about adaptation in the desert.Published 25 days ago by Daniel Mulkern
Discounting the occasional touches of violence, this movie emphasizes dealing with disasters in life in a fairly optimistic way, even if forced to do so. Read morePublished 1 month ago by montyruss
This is such a good movie. Reese Witherspoon did a great job as always. I bought the DVD to add to my collection so I can watch it anytime. My Grand children enjoyed it too.Published 2 months ago by Deborah L Geddis
I love this movie I have been looking for it for a long timePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Such a great movie. Bought this for my husband who grew up watching this movie and now we can share with our sonPublished 5 months ago by Jenna Enslow