A Million Colours

2012-04-30 12:28
 
What it's about:

In 1976, Muntu Ndebele was the star of the classic film, e'Lollipop. This sweeping romantic adventure is about the then-most famous teen black movie star in South Africa. He's separated from the love of his life, becomes a fugitive, and struggles to survive the Apartheid regime.

What we thought:

In 1976, the film e'Lollipop was released to wide acclaim. Its two leads, Muntu Ndebele and Norman Knox enjoyed the fruits of the film's success, but, in the years following the film's release, both found themselves facing their own personal struggles as the changes in 80s Apartheid South Africa took them down paths neither could have imagined.

Muntu fell into a life of crime, and eventually drug addiction, while Norman was conscripted into the army to fight the rising tide of The Struggle.

A Million Colours tells the story of Muntu and Norman, played by Wandile Molebatsi and former Idols winner Jason Hartman, of how they drifted apart and then eventually found one another.

This is a film that clearly comes with a wealth of good intentions, that "everyone gets a second chance" being first and foremost. Still, good intentions do not necessarily make for a good film and it's a pity that A Million Colours is burdened with a script that fails to get to the meat of things.

An enthusiastic cast does what it can, punching things up somewhat. Of the cast, Molebatsi comes off the strongest, his fresh-faced naturalism engaging us from the start.

The cinematography and the production design both deserve a mention too, as the overall look of the film is a testament to its high production values. The film also has a number of action sequences that help to show off the skills of the crew and director, Peter Bishai. Thankfully, these sequences never feel needlessly tacked on and work well within the context of the established story.

Still, whatever positive qualities the film may offer are sadly undone by a story that rarely gives the audience anything of real value to chew on. It's also unfortunate that the characters and the world feel under-developed, and lacking in detail and nuance. Scenes of high drama at latter stages of the film lack the required punch due to characters not being sufficiently established.

A potentially powerful scene between Muntu and his mother, for example, features terrific acting from both actors but doesn't really tug on the heartstrings given that the mother hasn't been set up as a particularly significant character.

The film also suffers from a pacing that leaves it feeling overlong, and there were numerous instances toward the end that felt as if the film was coming to a close only for it to carry on regardless. Oddly enough, had the filmmakers given the characters and the story more detail, though it may have given the film a longer runtime, it may have also afforded it a quicker pacing.

A Million Colours is a film that has its heart in the right place. It has a worthy story to tell and production values that makes it easy on the eye.

Had the filmmakers put as much effort into the story, characters and the texture of the story's world as they clearly put into the look of the film, the result would no doubt have been a far more engaging one.


A worthy film that has its heart in the right place but which is ultimately burdened with a script that fails to get to the meat of things.
Read more on:    south african film  |  movies

Lauren 2012/04/26 4:42 PM
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"Let's teach everyone about the terrible apartheid!" Urgh...
Jack 2012/04/26 4:53 PM
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Saw this film last night and OBVIOUSLY this reviewer is absolutely clueless!! His tweet even says its his first review!! This film is incredible - it should be seen by every South African!
Lauren 2012/04/28 5:51 PM
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I'd say you're allowed your opinion, Jack, but given that you slagged off the reviewer based only on this being his first review, well, you're not allowed that silly view. Films of this sort work best with subtlety and panache, not shoving the story uncomfortably down the audience's throats. At certain points, one can almost hear the filmmakers going "right, we're really going to make 'em cry with this scene." No man.
Maia 2012/04/30 10:50 AM
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I went to see this film last night and I have to disagree with the reviewer. I thought it was a fantastic movie and one that every South African should see. It tells both sides while not driving home either point. Lovely movie.
Suffering_reverse_apartheid 2012/04/30 2:14 PM
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Based on true events? really?? the white afrikaner made bad again?
Moses 2012/04/30 2:33 PM
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Saw the movie and was blown away. I have seen a lot of apartheid movies and this is by far one of the best I have seen. Clearly, this was a story about the two friends who were draw from iether side and ended up separated and all the dynamics of the strugles then. I agree "everyone gets a second chance". Muntu had to turn to God to fight his battles. I loved it!
Philip de Villiers 2012/07/22 11:57 AM
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I would have given it 5 stars... the film I saw was beautiful and superbly made. One of the first S.A. films with a powerful world class musical score.
koen Zonneveld 2013/02/12 12:48 PM
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This film is one of the best i have ever seen. I watched it with my South African wife and my Dutch brother and sister and we were all in tears at the end! This film is about real people and the difficulty of living a life under hard circumstances. Especialy if you know a bit more about South African history (we have all been involved in the strugle against Apartheid), culture and habits it is sure to touch you at the heart! I can not wait untill this movie is released in the Netherlands. I will surely advise all my friends and relatives to go watch it! I say: 10 stars!!!!
K'dy 2014/03/24 9:30 PM
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this film is perfect.
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