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Where the Road Runs Out: slow and uneven cliché

2015-07-23 16:45

Film: Where the Road Runs Out
Directed by: Rudolf Buitendach 
With: Isaach De Bankolé, Sizo Motsoko, Juliet Landau, Stelio Savante
Rudolf Buitendach’s South African/Dutch co-production Where the Road Runs Out is an everyday story about how the legacies of Africa must be built and upheld.

George’s father’s legacy is a field station in Malabo, Guinea, which once was the biggest cocoa producer in the world. But that is in the past. George (Isaach de Bankole) leaves for school. And instead of returning home to maintain this legacy, he decides to live and work in Rotterdam, returning only when a friend, Cheese, dies. He finds that the money he sent to keep a local orphanage running was diverted and the field station a mess.

Where the Road Runs Out tells an appealing but unadventurous story because it has been told so often that it is open to all sorts of clichés. Rudolf’s love subplot between George and the caretaker of the orphanage, Ms Carol has been over-flogged in these kind of movies. Must a love web be wound round the main actor and the lady every single time? 

The acting is uneven. Carol’s countenance, facial gestures and body movements accurately match her lines, at times a delight to watch. But the Rotterdam scenes are ruined by banal acting. It gets better in Malabo, thanks to child actor Sizo Motsoko who plays Jimmy, a local kid who injects energy into a slow-paced movie.

These are the lessons Buitendach tries to teach with Where the Road Runs Out: If every African has the sole mission and privilege to travel to gain more knowledge and then return home to develop it, Africa will be better off than where she is now. 

* The film will be screened on July 26 at 8.15pm at the Musgrave Cinema
* Talents Press is a programme of Talents Durban at the Durban International Film Festival which sees 40  film makers from Africa and the diaspora gather for 5 days of workshops, seminars and masterclasses

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