Film Review: A United Kingdom

A United Kingdom

Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom is a very British period drama. The film is well acted, and glossy in its production.

Heir to the Kingdom of Bechuanaland, Seretse Khama is studying in London when he meets Ruth Williams. The pair engage in a relationship, much to the chagrin of Ruth’s parents, Seretse’s uncle, and the British Government…

Director Amma Asante delivers an accomplished film with A United Kingdom. The film stands out because its subject matter is not widely known. It is based on the true story of the first President of Botswana and the ripples caused by his marriage to a white English wife. The film feels refreshing in its telling a new story in an era often seen in film.

Race relations are at the forefront of A United Kingdom. The relationship between Seretse and Ruth was unusual for the time, as well as being a diplomatic matter. As such, Assante’s film works on two levels. There is a personal love story to be told, which is conveyed in a suitably effective manner. The political complications give the film a sharper edge, and puts the relationship in a wider historical context.

The film is a period drama, with irregular accents of comedy. A United Kingdom follows the well-trodden path of British historical dramas. Those who have seen the trailer will not be surprised by anything in Guy Hibbert’s screenplay. Nevertheless, the film has enough substance to make it an enjoyable watch.

Asante’s direction is good, despite some standard period-drama set ups. The art direction is effective in showing a contrast in the London sequences palate to that of Africa. David Oyelowo delivers a convincing performance as Seretse. He is particularly captivating in his speech-giving, as exemplified in his Selma performance. Rosamund Pike has good chemistry with Oyelowo, and is strong in the film. Tom Felton and Jack Davenport are well cast in their respective roles.

A United Kingdom is presents an engaging story in a familiar format. Despite this, there is a lot to like about the film.

A United Kingdom opens the the BFI London Film Festival on 5th October 2016.

Stuff To Look At

A treasure trove of film-related goodness this week, including X-Men: Days of Future Past, Edge of Tomorrow and Godzilla

X-Men Days of Future Past

Here is a new featurette for the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. Wolverine is one of a host of characters returning from the original X-Men film series. X-Men: Days of Future Past is released in UK cinemas on 22nd May 2014.

Love, Rosie

Above is a teaser trailer for new comedy Love, Rosie. Starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin, the film centres on the friendship of Rosie and Alex who go and study in the US together. Love, Rose is scheduled for release in October 2014.

Godzilla

Show us Godzilla! Listening to director Gareth Edwards talk about the monster in his upcoming blockbuster makes me all the more eager to see it. Godzilla hits the big screen on 15th May 2014.

Boyhood

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is something rather extraordinary. A fictional film made with the same group of actors over a twelve year period, Boyhood is certainly something to look out for. The film is released on 11th July 2014.

Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of Tomorrow Poster

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt star in action adventure Edge of Tomorrow. The film seems like it fits into both Cruise and Blunt’s fairly recent predilection for science fiction. Edge of Tomorrow is released in UK cinemas on 30th May 2014.

22 Jump Street

As silly as it is, I am not going to deny that I laughed at this clip. 21 Jump Street was a very entertaining picture, so I am hoping that its sequel will deliver more of the same. 22 Jump Street is released in UK cinemas on 6th June 2014.

In Secret

Here is a clip from upcoming period drama In Secret. Set in 1860s Paris, the film stars Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton and Oscar Isaac. An adaption of Zola’s classic Thérèse Raquin, In Secret hits cinemas on 16th May 2014.

If I Stay

If I Stay is a romantic drama starring Chloe Grace Moretz. The film is based on the 2009 novel of the same name. I am not familiar with it, but I presume it is popular with the kids. If I Stay is due for release later this year.

The Wind Rises

Hayao Miyazaki’s farewell picture is a wonderful ode to dreaming. The Wind Rises continues Studio Ghibli’s tradition for superb animation. The film is released on 9th May 2014.