Critic Reviews

68

Metascore

Based on 19 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Donald Sutherland is perfectly cast and quietly effective as a man who will not be turned aside, who does not wish misfortune upon himself or his family, but cannot ignore what has happened to the family of his friend.
90
First-rate agitprop about the ruthlessness of South African apartheid, directed by Euzhan Palcy (Sugar Cane Alley) and adapted from Andre Brink's novel by Palcy and Colin Welland. The relentless plot is effectively set up and expertly pursued, and Hugh Masekela makes some striking contributions to Dave Grusin's musical score.
80
Washington Post
A Dry White Season is political cinema so deeply felt it attains a moral grace. A bitter medicine, a painful reminder, it grieves for South Africa as it recounts the atrocities of apartheid. Yes, it is a story already told on a grander scale, but never with such fervor.
75
A heavy, effective dramatization of the effects of the Soweto Uprising of 1976 on a white South African teacher (Donald Sutherland) whose black gardener is murdered by police. This film is unblinking in its depiction of the most violent side of apartheid. Marlon Brando lightens the drama with a colorful cameo as the lawyer hired by Sutherland to combat the state.
75
This is filmmaking meant to engage the heart-and other visceral organs-more than the mind; its effects are simple, broad and directly put.
70
Dry White Season is no less predictable than its predecessors, but its frankness and sincerity matter more than its fundamental bluntness.
60
A thumpingly didactic script, but Palcy has crafted a watchable - if not particularly important, given its competition - one.
60
Palcy, in what amounts to the casting coup of the year, enlisted the reclusive Brando to make his brief but memorable cameo appearance--his first film role since 1980--for union scale. His performance alone is worth the price of admission to this earnest, somewhat predictable, but moving and significant film.
50
Washington Post
Sutherland's not particularly strong in his role of the man who knew too little -- he's handicapped by obvious dialogue like "I was so naive."
40
Time Out London
Like Cry Freedom, it's still whites debating racial injustice: fine for a book published in Afrikaans a decade ago, but a poor premise for a message movie.

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