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The Power of One
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for the acting talents of Stephen Dorff - then a virtual unknown, today one of our strongest young character actors; he stars as Peekay, a young English orphan torn by the promise of an easier future outside of his native South Africa and his love for all things and most people of his land. He is drawn by his past and the lessons learned from a series of wise mentors, who see in him the promise and hope of a better future for South Africa. Color blind, he grows up speaking many tribal languages, and is foreign only to the politically powerful movement that created the system of Apartheid in South Africa.
Power of One was recommended to me by a dear friend, who said the movie inspired him in many ways. He was so right. The music, a mixture of soaring melodies and tribal songs, inspires on its own. The scenic beauty of the land of South Africa, from the grasslands to the waterfalls is breathtakingly portrayed on film and captured with true artistry in the DVD.
There are many fine supporting players in this tale, some famous, some unknown. Like most tales of heroes and leaders, they shine for awhile in the tale of the child, the adolescent and then the young man Peekay (kudos to the casting director for the two youngsters who play Peekay in his early years; they light up the screen!) and each one's sun sets as Peekay lives through the losses and tragedies that form the backdrop for most heroes.
Really a fine tale - a little long in the last hour, some gratuitous violence - a story of the African struggle that few of us know was taking place while the world watched the Nazis.
If you see the Power of One, and are moved by the story, be sure to read Courtenay's novel. Both are outstanding!
The story is about a small British boy, P.K., who is orphaned at a young age and lives in an all-Afrikaans boarding school. He is harrassed and beaten, and eventually comes under the tutilage of 'Doc', an eccentric and wise old man from Germany. When Doc is taken to prison, he is treated exceptionally well, and introduces P.K. to Piet, a black inmate who teaches the small boy to box. In this way P.K. grows up, witnessing tragic and terrible happenings around him as well as triumph as he outrgrows his thin, scared figure and becomes a muscular, self-confident and strong-willed man. The film follows him as he grows as a human being, striving to change his world and live life to its fullest. The story is one without flaws, and although is a bit unbelievable (I don't think this is a true story; however, it very well might be) it is very convincing.
The preformances are exellent, the best of which is definitely from Stephen Dorff, who plays P.K. His accent is wonderful considering I'm almost sure he's American. Mueller-Stahl as Doc is obviously spectacular, as always, and the acting of Morgan Freeman, who plays Piet... well, I needn't say more! The story is deeply stirring, sending literal chills down my spine as I watched. While the flakish, yet spunky, character of Maria (P.K.Read more ›
Don't get me wrong; the movie is still pretty good, with amazing acting, a compelling story, vivid African landscape, and of course Hans Zimmer's music. The first time I saw it, I would have rated it five stars...right up until I read the book. The movie simply can't hold a candle to the book. Half of the movie is constructed around literally one paragraph of the book. It creates characters (including the love interest) out of thin air, while leaving out characters that made Peekay into who he was.
Another reviewer wrote that Peekay was colorblind. Far from it. Peekay knew and understood prejudice from his earliest days, but also understood that prejudice was not limited to color. Zulu looked down on Shangaan; Afrikaner hated English. The overwhelming theme is not racism so much as tribalism. Were they Afrikaners, English, Zulu, etc., or were they South Africans? In the book, Peekay constantly has to balance who he is as an individual with who he is in relationship to society. He MUST maintain his own flame, yet he must also live in society. A far better concept than movie. After all, the perpetrators of apartheid had just as much "Power of One" as the heroes of the movie. So watch the movie, then read the book, and if you're like my wife who was afraid of the book because of the way the movie ends, don't worry; the movie never happens in the book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an amazing film too few people know about. It features early Morgan Freeman and follows a heart-breaking but inspiringly tragic story in South Africa. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Cathy M. Riso
Read the book. It is an extraordinary story that is ruined by this poor screen play.Published 24 days ago by A. Marcus
I discovered this movie a few years ago and it has always stuck with me. This movie is fantastic!Published 2 months ago by Ashlynne Rhine
Excellent film. Great to watch with young people and discuss the issues raised in the story.Published 2 months ago by William Mitchell
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