“No man is free who is not master of himself.”
Three years after the cinematic gem that is ‘Belle’ director Amma Asante is back with another exquisite film. Like ‘Belle’ is tells a little known story – in this case Prince Seretse Khama (Oyelowo) of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London (Pike) in the late 1940s – and makes us appreciate a story that could have remained forgotten by time.
The best way to describe watching ‘A United Kingdom’ is stirring. From the opening credits stirs many emotions within the viewer – injustice, frustration, adoration and, ultimately, appreciation. Asante tells the story with ease, skill and great depth. She ends up creating a cinematic experience that is simultaneously as comfy and secure as sitting in a leather recliner whilst nursing a glass of whisky yet wholeheartedly engaging and tremendously moving.
The cinematography is truly exquisite, both rainy London and the glorious beauty of the Botswana landscape are shot in such away they seem worlds apart yet united. Much like the central couple who are portrayed with solidly likeable performances by Oyelowo and Pike. Oyelowo delivery of important speeches is second to none, providing some of the film’s most powerful moments. Pike has the slightly more difficult role yet manages not to fall into become second fiddle. She plays Ruth Williams with subtlety and nuance, bringing her character fully to live. There is a great level of chemistry between them and they showcase a love story like no other in a truly absorbing manner.
Properly engaging old-school Melodrama at it’s finest.
A United Kingdom was released in UK cinemas on November 25th.
Dir: Amma Asante
Year: 2016 Run time:111 minutes