Cry Freedom

(Richard Attenborough , UK, 1987)


Richard Attenborough (Gandhi, 1982) epitomises the comfortably secure, bleeding-heart-liberal filmmaker of the West.

When it was announced that he was going to tackle the story of black activist Steve Biko (Denzel Washington) via the account of journalist Donald Woods (Kevin Kline), the radicals of the world groaned.

Surely it would be another self-congratulatory exercise about courageous whites rather than the true oppressed?

To its great credit, Cry Freedom is surprisingly sensitive to its political subject matter. Focussing on Woods allows Attenborough to educate the viewer on many issues within a compellingly dramatic framework, without ever losing sight of the real priorities.

MORE Attenborough: Chaplin

© Adrian Martin May 1992

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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